2015 Street of Dreams: One Designer's Review

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2015 Street of Dreams: One Designer's Review

For the past 40 years in the warm days of summer, a group of builders, architects, interior designers and other building professionals put on a showcase event. The Street of Dreams is one of those rare opportunities for the general public to see a collection of homes highlighting the best Portland has to offer in home construction. This year’s Street of Dreams saw a total of 9 homes - eight built from the ground up and one remodeled home.

The nine homes range in size from 4,100 to 5,600 square feet with price tags mirroring other custom homes of equal size. All of the homes are beautiful in their own ways. As a designer, I go to The Street to see those special moments in design that are stunningly creative or just beautifully executed. Not to be especially critical (but this is a review article), there were only a few of the homes that really blew my socks off, but that should be expected. Design is an objective endeavor and not everyone will like everything. Don’t get me wrong, all of the homes were beautiful and well designed, it's just that I’m looking for those “wow” moments - those moments that make we wish I had designed that element first. This review is about the "wow" moments (from my perspective). So, let's get started.

Moment #5 - Mid-Century Evolution, built by Mark Stephens with interior design by Ron Thompson Design. This beautiful Mid-century inspired home had a number of details I would consider great design. In the kitchen, however, one simple element really caught my attention. The teal blue walls behind the open shelving gave the design team a great opportunity to bring a strong color story to the room and a way to highlight the white serving pieces. The beauty of this solution is how changeable it is if color preferences change in the future.

Moment #4 - The Adeline, built by Cornerstone Construction Services, LLC. with interior design by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design. So many times we see an everyday item done the same way it’s been done forever with no thought to coming up with a more creative way to present the item. Well, the builders and interior design team surprised me with this one. This armoire-style set of cabinetry is the linen closet for the upstairs. What a genius way to camouflage what is usually just another boring set of cabinets.

Moment #3 - Anyone who knows JBi knows that we are lovers of tile and pattern. Well, here we have our two favorite design elements combined into one powder room. The Highland Couture, built by Pahlisch Homes Inc. with interior design by Carin Atterbury, presented an absolutely beautiful moment in the powder bathroom. The tile floor is a small stone mosaic made up in a plaid pattern. Combined with the cream and gray wall covering is a beautiful combination of pattern. And now I’m completely bummed because I’ll never be able to use this tile - darn it!!

Moment #2 - Well, we’re getting close to my favorite moment. Before we get there, let's look at The Atterbury built by BC Custom Construction with interior design by Carin Atterbury (another one!). It’s another great use of materials that is both stunning and also incredibly functional. This master shower has everything today’s showers need (read “must have”) - a built-in bench, shower head and hand-shower. But, it is the use of a granite slab on one wall that really makes the statement here. The darker color and subtle movement in the stone make this the perfect design element. However, the use of slab in a shower is also incredibly functional by minimizing grout lines and increasing cleanability. That’s being smart with design in multiple ways and I certainly applaud that.

#1 - Yay!!! We’re here. My favorite moment from this year’s Street. Again, let me reiterate there were so many beautiful homes designed and decorated in ways that everyone should be incredibly proud of. But, there can only be one “best of” moment. Now, let's just say that I'm a huge fan of the design work done by Maison Inc. In this year's Street, they took on the very first remodel project as part of the event. The Shaw House remodel was completed by Cornerstone Construction Services. On a street filled with large grand homes, soaring ceilings and expansive spaces, to take on the remodel of a modest home is certainly quite an undertaking. Of course, they did it with complete aplomb. Original designed by Portland famed architect John Yeon for a couple in the 1950s, this house is a beautiful example of the sophisticated side of mid-century design. The kitchen Maison designed in the Shaw House is clearly my favorite moment from this years Street. I love, love, love the treatment done to the vent hood. It's not your typical stainless steel hood or standard cabinetry-based hood, this is a simple matte black rectangle cover that conflicts with the delicateness of the rest of the room. The other element I'm (slightly) obsessed with is the island. While other designers have done waterfall countertops, it is the selection of this particular stone that is so special. The softness in the veining and subtle movement make this island a real show-stopper.

Congratulations to all the builders, architects, interior designers who pulled off a great 2015 Street of Dreams. I look forward to next year's event and more great moments in design.

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Doing Black Cabinetry the Right Way

Every once in a while, a client asks JASON BALL interiors to design a kitchen with some real drama. This is nothing against most of the other kitchens I've done, but some people just really want to push the design envelope to the limit. I'm working on one such kitchen. We, the clients and myself, set out to design a kitchen all the right details, backsplash, cabinet hardware, counter top and especially the cabinetry. Our design choice was to use cabinetry in a deep black paint color with a higher level of glossiness than usual. Different than most kitchens, this particular kitchen can handle the idea of dark cabinetry because of the quality and quantity of light available. Large windows in the adjacent breakfast nook (with an amazing view, by the way) and an abundance of overhead lighting makes it easier to ensure a light-filled space despite the cabinetry tone.

But, how can you incorporate dark cabinetry in a setting without all of these particular advantages. If the idea of black cabinetry is something that interests you, then this article will guide you through the selection process of how best to use black cabinetry in your kitchen.

Start Small. One of the easiest ways to get a darker tone in your kitchen it to only use it in one or two selective locations. An island or bar area are perfect locations for beautiful black cabinetry and a great way to introduce black into your space.

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Black island and built-in china cabinet: Design by Sarah Davison Interior Design

Balance with light surfaces all around. Using black cabinetry in your kitchen is all about balance. The easiest way to balance out the black cabinetry is to make sure you have sufficient light in the room. Recessed lights, pendants, in-cabinet lighting are all crucial in creating a light filled room

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Lights abound in this kitchen - Photography by Maxine Schnitzer Photography

Reflective surfaces are your friend. If you're daring enough to go all out and put in a full set of black cabinetry, use metal finishes, glass and other reflective surfaces to help "lighten" the space. These shiny surfaces are important ways to push the light around the space and provide little glints of light against the dark cabinetry. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Chrome pendants and cabinet hardware are the jewelry in this kitchen - Design by Laurysen Kitchens Ltd. 

Go all out for pure drama. If you're really bold, why not pull out all the stops? This amazing kitchen has everything going for it - an amazing ceiling, gorgeous cabinetry and a floor that builds on the overall look. One design element to make note of. The farm table plays an incredibly important role in the space. It adds warmth and age to space, a great add.

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Black cabinetry with checkerboard floor and antique farmhouse table - Design by Alonso and Associates

Here are a couple of instances in which I've used black cabinetry. In one kitchen, we did black on all the cabinetry. In the other one, just the island and built-in buffet area got special treatment.

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I can't wait to show you the kitchen JBi has recently been working on. I'm pretty sure it's going to be really show stopper. And, one last word, don't let black cabinetry get in the way of creating your dream kitchen. Go bold or go home, right?! 

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Supporting Nepal

As an interior designer, I use products from all over the globe. While I attempt to specify as many American-made products as possible for my clients, sometimes I need to reach beyond our borders for the perfect product. Casegoods from Southeast Asia (Phillipines, Thailand, etc.), drapery and cabinet hardware from Germany, blown glass from Eastern Europe and handmade rugs from Nepal, to name a few examples.

This post is about understanding who makes the products we place in our homes. So, when a natural disaster occurs in another part of the world, it gives us a perfect opportunity to not only learn about the people impacted but also take a moment to help those in need. As you know, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal. The loss of life is in the thousands with the number of injured being even more. In many parts of the country, roads, houses, temples and other important infrastructure has been destroyed or severely compromised. Much of the rug manufacturing in Nepal takes place in the more rural parts of Nepal, in small villages or towns in the mountains. Sometimes an entire village will be focused on rug making. This means that when something like this earthquake hits, it can impact the livelihood of whole villages. 

This is now our opportunity to help this country recover from this disaster. Here are a few of international charity or relief organizations taking donations specifically to help the Nepalese people. Here are a few of the organizations I know and trust (and many of our local rug vendors also trust to do right by the Nepalese) - OxfamGoodweave, Phoenix Fund for Nepal Relief (started by one of the main suppliers of Nepalese rugs) - go here directly to their PayPal site. If giving to one of these organizations is not your thing, feel free to stop by one of the local rug vendors - Kush Handmade Rugs, Lapchi Atelier and Christiane Millinger Oriental Rugs are all involved in the recovery efforts in some fashion. 

So, let's take a moment to consider the artisans who make these pieces of textile art and the art they make. 

Women sorting wool by hand

Women sorting wool by hand

Drying wool in the sun

Drying wool in the sun

A hand-knotted rug on loom - keep in mind an 8x10 rug has somewhere near 2 million individually hand tied knots

A hand-knotted rug on loom - keep in mind an 8x10 rug has somewhere near 2 million individually hand tied knots

Hand-shearing to perfection

Hand-shearing to perfection

Freshly washed rug drying in the sun

Freshly washed rug drying in the sun

Thank you for reading.

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Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound

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Designer Notebook: High Point 2015, part 1 - Details Abound

Twice a year, tens of thousands of interior designers and home decor store owners descend upon the small, sleepy town of High Point, North Carolina for High Point Market. The event brings together more than 2,000 exhibitors across 180 buildings in one location. It's a designer's dream! For me and JBi, this is an opportunity to see the latest products from the top manufacturers in the home product industry. I'm looking for new furniture, lighting, accessory and art I can use to put together great rooms for my clients.

While attending a trade show can certainly be fun with numerous parties and meeting leaders in the industry sounds, it's also a ton of work. On average, I'll visit 100 or more showrooms over a 5 day time period - that's 20 or more showrooms per day. It's a lot of walking, talking, sitting (trying out all the furniture from trusted and new manufacturers so I can be assured the highest quality for my clients) and learning about all these products.

And, yes, there are certainly some great moments. This year I had the privilege of meeting Gary Inman, a distinguished designer in the resort and hospitality arena. He gave a great talk on the Art of Collecting (look for something on this topic in later post). Previous years gave me the opportunity to meet Thom Filicia and Barclay Butera, two amazing designers and founders of great brands of products I use on a regular basis.

So, back to Market. Each year, I look for a common thread in the products manufacturers are showing. A few years ago, in the midst of the recession, I noticed that furniture had a distinctly simple feel. Manufacturers had simplified their profiles and used more reclaimed materials. Everything appeared very modest, even for the higher end manufacturers. As the economy continues to improve and the furnishings industry is seeing a great rebound, manufacturers are starting to be bold again in their design choices with an increased use of patterns and finer details in casegoods. I believe these trends will continue for a years to come as the industry continues to bounce back and homeowners want to fill their homes with the finer things in life.

In this room by Thibaut, the wallpaper and chair fabrics  (three different ones, by the way) fill the room with color and pattern. I saw this over and over in manufacturers of all levels and types of products.  

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This beautiful use of ribbon by Hancock & Moore is another example of details done the right way. 

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Over and over, casegoods are moving away from the overly simple and rustic look to a more refined aesthetic with beautiful details. Taracea's small bar cabinet is created using wood inlays in a houndstooth pattern. A contemporary use of the inlay technique and simply stunning! 

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Another example of detail in casegood by Century Furniture shows a bar with stunning chrome details as metal inlays and other details on the base.

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And, Bernhardt, one of my favorites, dare not be left out of the game with this stunning aged brass bed and lacquered capiz shell nightstands. 

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Even the live edge movement is getting into the groove. This maple table by The Table Factory has a metal zipper detail down the middle that would be the talk of any dinner party or gathering around this table. 

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Even art is getting into the game. These screen prints of geodes by Natural Curiosities are highlighted with gold leaf details that make them shine! Literally! 

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Upholstered furniture is seeing an increased use in details as well. These two pieces, one by Henredon and one by Taylor King, show the level of detail possible with upholstered furniture.

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taylor-king-nailhead-detail

So, where does this leave us? Well, I believe in a good place. Designers have more and more great products from which to choose and homeowners will likely start desiring an increased use of details in their own homes. That sets us all up for some great design to come down the road in the coming years. 

And, of course, if you're ready to start bringing some extra detail to your home, you know who to call (that would be me, right?!) - go to this page to get started redesigning your home.

 

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Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

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Designer Notebook: Drapery Pleat Styles Done the Right Way

 

From a designer's perspective, drapery is one of those key elements in any rooms that helps the room feel finished. Their presence in a room can dramatically change a room to either be formal or informal, or contemporary or traditional. Often times it is the type of pleat used that plays the crucial role in determining the finished style of the drapery.

Yes, you'll notice that I left out the fabric in the above paragraph. That was completely intentional. There are millions of fabric options and the style of the room often dictates the type of fabric selected for the room. Fabric content, pattern, etc. will all come into play when selecting drapery fabric that fits the particular style of your room.

Moving on the pleat styles...open up any drapery design book and you'll see a huge range of pleat styles and looks, from incredibly ornate to simple, contemporary forms. While every pleat style has its place, we at JBi definitely have our favorites - pinch pleats (euro or regular style), grommets and ripple-fold to name a few. I'll throw in one extra style for good measure, something for the more traditionally minded folks.

The pinch pleat is probably the most well known pleat style. The pleat is made by gathering fabric together at regular intervals along the top of the fabric panel. The number of gathers in the pleat are called "fingers." A two-fingered pleat has two gathers, a three-fingered pleat has three and so on. If the pleat is made by gathering the fabric some distance down from the top of the panel (usually about 2 inches), this is called a pinch pleat. When the pleat is gathered at the top of the panel, the pleat is known as a Euro pleat. 

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Two fingered Euro pleat - design by Karen Houghton Interiors

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

Pinch pleat - design by Alluring Window NYC

For a distinctly contemporary look, many use either a grommeted look or ripple-fold. These have similar looks but use different methods to create the look. A grommeted panel has large metal rimmed holes punched in the top of the panel through which a rod or taut wire is run. The fabric simply creates an "S" shape along the hanging mechanism. Ripple-fold drapery has the same "S" shape but is created by using a special connection from the top of the drapery to ripple-fold track. The track allows the drapery to easily be moved across the length. A measured string is used inside the track to keep the "ripples" at equal distances along the hardware, thus the name ripple-fold.

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Grommeted panels - Design by Tineke Triggs, Artistic Designs For Living

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

Ripplefold drapery - Design by Heather Williamson

For good measure, let's look at one more pleat style, something on the more traditional side of things. The reverse box pleat is one of my favorite styles for a more traditional look. Think a pleat but in reverse - the part of the pleat that normally is in the back comes out to the front of the panel and are then connected. Sometimes a button or other decoration is used to connect the pleats in reverse. This type of pleat style is best used for fixed panels.

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

Box pleat with button detail - Design by RLH Studio

I hope this quick primer gives you some ideas on what to do with your next drapery project. Happy drapery-ing! 

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