Saturday, November 9, 2013

That touch of black

I'm a firm believer in the design principal that every room needs to have a touch of black; it grounds the space. Recently I helped a friend add a touch of black to his own living room in one of my favorite spots - the fireplace surround.
Before the fireplace lacked presence in the room. It also unfortunately had been rebuilt at some point and featured a very new, ugly brick surround in contrast to the original antique brick hearth (floor). Ignore the unpainted trim to the right, I also helped redesign the trim throughout the room and it hasn't been painted yet!
While my cell phone snaps don't do it justice, the new painted brick surround is a great focal point, won't show soot stains if the fire smokes, and now pairs nicely with the untouched antique brick hearth. Small changes can make such a large difference. 
I did the same in my own home. The fireplaces in my old COOP building are no longer functioning for insurance reasons but the fireplace remains a focal point in my living room. Above you can see how I painted the interior and the surround black.
Before (on a walk through with my Realtor before purchasing the apartment) you can see the surround painted white with no contrast to the mantel (and the hideously old wall to wall carpeting). What do you think of adding a touch of black to a space?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Thomas Pheasant: Simply Serene

I was so excited to receive a copy of internationally renowned local designer Thomas Pheasant's book, Simply Serene, that I sat down and read it immediately upon opening! Pheasant is well known for his contemporary classical work that is precisely the style I admire most as well as his beautiful collections of furniture for Baker Furniture.
The book is organized into chapters and even sub chapters in an organized fashion that one expects from Pheasant based on his work. The formality ends there though as the book is intimately written on his musings on design, his background, and what got him to where he is today.
Pheasant finds inspiration everywhere and is not shy about sharing his secrets with the reader. While the book features huge lush color images that invite the viewer to study them in detail, every 3rd image or so is in black and white so one can focus on the form or actual design of the space in question.
Included in the back of the book was a great surprise: under the "perfection" chapter a number of before & after projects shown in succession so that you can see just where his work and vision begins. Pheasant believes that before the decorating begins, the space and architecture must be right. I couldn't agree more!
While symmetry abounds in the book I was particularly drawn to the b&w image above of a asymmetrical hallway with interior window, skylight, paneling, and beautiful detailing. This is what doing it right looks like! Pick up your copy today and devote some time to learning from a master!
Photography provided by Durston Saylor and Thomas Pheasant.