January 20, 2016

WOODEN CEILINGS

ADD DIMENSION TO YOUR ROOMS
WITH WOODEN CEILINGS
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For years designers have known to consider all aspects of the spaces they're designing. For novice designers one of the largest surfaces in the space is often forgotten about...the ceiling.

Over the last 20 years ceilings have been made into overly detailed, gilded and faux tortoise'd confections.. 
Unless you live at the Vatican you shouldn't try to make it into the Sistine Chapel...it just wont work…
One of my favorite materials on a ceiling is wood, whether heavy beams, thin "strapping," or just a plain plank ceiling. 
Europeans have used wood successfully for years, Americans however, think that a plain wooden ceiling looks unfinished or just too plain, so they want to zhuzh it up and make it a focal point...not a good idea unless you have 20 foot ceilings and live in a Palladian Villa...

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Historically the wooden ceiling was literally the floor above, eventually they became more decorated and evolved into much more elegant surfaces.
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Designer: Nancy Lancaster)

Below are examples of well done wooden ceilings
Keep in mind none of the beams or wood in any of rooms is structural, it's all for design purposes.

FOYERS AND HALLS
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(Designer: Thomas Pheasant)
This beautiful tracery ceiling is amazingly simple and subtle, and the matte finish enhances the beautiful background detail, keeping it subtle


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(Designer: Marietta Himes Gomez)
The use of plank wood below the baseboard on the steps and on the ceiling is so simple and yet so sophisticated


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This beautiful cozy rustic hallways feels as if you're walking through a very old country house. The use of recycled unfinished timbers provide instant patina

LIVING ROOMS
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(Designer: Marietta Himes Gomez)
This quasi-Gambrel roof is sheathed in plank wood with strapwork over it making it look like an old barn. 
The matte paint also makes it look more aged.


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This modern "mission style" home has the beams painted "espresso." Accented with bright white walls and graphite colored floors this chic space nods to tradition. 
Notice the beams keep this room from looking cold and museum like


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(Designer: E.G.Dines)
This beautiful, sleek V-joint tongue-and-groove ceiling adds texture and reflects light to the space with the high gloss paint.


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(Designer: Chris Connell)
This gorgeous red cedar V-joint narrow board tongue-and-groove ceiling looks very contemporary and clean. Its the one opportunity to add texture and warmth to a room with marble floors and all glass walls.
 

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This beautiful living room in Belgium has recycled planks on the ceiling with recycled beams spanning the room creating a very welcoming, old-world feeling


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(Designer: Kathryn Ireland)
These very simple surface-mounted "hand-hewn" style beams definitely add some architecture to this otherwise white box of a room. They also coordinate the furniture with the ceiling by adding the similar toned color.


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This is a good example of easy "tracery."
This ceiling is the original flat wallboard with "ogee" crown moulding applied back-to-back to to create a tracery looking pattern. It's made more interesting by using the pale green between the white molding


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This style ceiling is called a "tray" ceiling (upside-down tray). The material used is 1" x 8" V-joint tongue-and-groove. Always a good clean look and easy to install.



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To me, this room above is not done well.
The beautiful panel-style built-ins, French doors and highly polished floors should not have rough-hewn barn beams. This room should have a simple strap work or "boxed and finished" beams like the room below
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DINING ROOMS
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This updated design lives within a traditional envelope. 
The addition of the strapwork ceiling (over sheetrock) gives this room a "center," some sense of symmetry as it's a very asymmetrical room with doors, halls, and odd bits and pieces making it feel more like a hallway than a dining room.


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These beautiful stenciled beams in this dining room looks so elegant. Notice that the room is kept subtle otherwise, no fancy wallpaper or pushy curtains.


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This plain plank ceiling of unfinished cypress boards looks great in this contemporary room



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This casual dining room feels earthy and organic with the simple painted wooden plank ceiling


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(Designer: India Hicks)
This beachy casual dining room has walls and ceiling of 8" V-joint tongue-and-groove painted solid, satin finish white. The beams are to break up the plain white box effect.


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This stunning dining room, sooo sophistocated and yet so simple. The ceiling is simple 1"x 6" planks with 1" x 8" strapping applied over.

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This pecky cypress tracery ceiling is typical of many of the Mediterranean style homes in Palm Beach. They're beautiful when the ceilings are high, but oppressive and heavy when they aren't.


woodencoffered ceiling
This "coffered" ceiling above is soooo ridiculous - the recesses are so deep it looks like a subway tunnel; it makes the ceiling of this beautifully scaled room look like you should duck your head. Below is what the above room should have
(maybe with matte paint instead…jus' sayin')
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KITCHENS
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(House Beautiful)
Pecky cypress planks applied to the ceiling definitely make this kitchen cozier and less boring.



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This rustic European style kitchen has a bleached plank ceiling with natural recycled beams which looks quite pretty and appropriate.


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This beautiful English style kitchen has painted boxed beams which give the room some architectural interest and order.


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(Designer: Victoria Hagan)
This very American kitchen has beadboard ceiling and walls painted semi-gloss white which looks fresh and timeless


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Honey, a spaceship's just landed in our breakfast room, can you hurry home, I'm afraid it'll mess up my new swags...  Someone thought this ceiling was a good idea?? Really??

BEDROOMS
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Cozy and comfortable with the added texture of the whitewashed plank tray ceiling.


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This V-joint, tongue-and-groove walnut ceiling adds a natural and cozying effect to this contemporary bedroom


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This European country style bedroom has had the ceiling lifted and made into a "tray" using wallboard and 1" x 4" strapping at frequent intervals. Whereas the ceiling below which is also all wallboard has wooden moldings applied to it in a very smart looking "picture frame" style, and is highlighted with three shades of white!
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Cindy Crawfords Malibu bedroom has a wallboard ceiling with 1" x 3" strapping to represent the roof rafters, it's a smart and inexpensive effect. 
(I'm sure this furniture didnt come from "Rooms to Go" either....rut roh…)


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The very "Hancock Park" style home has a ceiling of "clear"(no knots) boards. I love the authentic way the horizontal boards are installed, which is the actual effect you'd have if that was the real roof and clay tiles were nailed onto them from above, outside.
 

BATHROOMS
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LOVE this rustic yet elegant bathroom. The wooden walls are great but that ceiling is what makes the room awesome. I just wanna load up in that tub on a snowy day.....


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Above is in a home I did which had a three-storey master bath room. This is a very "Hamptons" shingle style home so I chose the beadboard panelling for the ceilings and in the cupola which reflects all the light into the room below.


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This V-joint tongue-and-groove ceiling is awesome, every inch of every surface has been thought out and carefully executed so one doesnt overshadow the other.


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Oscar de la Renta's bathroom in the Dominican!
Beadboard walls and ceiling, so simply chic and old fashioned without looking like Little House on the Prarie


PORCHES

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(Designer: Hamilton Design)
This contemporary screen porch uses raw cedar to creat a woody environment to relax in, it feels sooo warm and soothing opposed to painted wood.


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This modest octagonal porch has a small tray ceiling using V-joint tongue-and-groove which adds texture, its not as "typical" as beadboard would look. The ceiling color is an old-fashioned southern color for an outside porch - to mimic the sky.


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This Moroccan cabana feels so awesome, like u wanna pile up in it with all the latest decorating magazines and suck on a big mint iced-tea all day!  They've used traditional solid tree-trunks for beams and then filled in between with plaster. It looks great, very rustic, cozy and fun.


You can do it, I'm here to help!


December 13, 2015

HOME OFFICES

HOME OFFICES

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I have a rule for running my home:
“A place for everything and everything in its place”
Determine where everything is supposed to be kept, if you don't have a place, create one - it keeps clutter down, the house tidy, and when you want something you know exactly where to find it!

Those little 70's era Susie-Homemaker 'menu desks' in kitchens are useless, and computers have definitely not made us paper-free...

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With busy lives we all need a “go to” place for the family calendar, kid’s sports schedules, mail, dinners, theater, etc. 
Is it too much to ask for a desk area to work at without the chance of getting peanut butter on it?

FIRST: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR OFFICE
  1. Make a list of what you want at your fingertips: 
    • Pens, post-its, scissors, stationary, checks, laptop, printer, shredder, files, etc.
  2. What task do you do most often
    • That should be your priority for placement.
  3. Where are all your chargers now? 
    • Is it convenient? 
    • Is it a rat’s nest of wires and plugs?
    • Are any multipurpose? E.g.: phone and iPad
  4. Will everyone in your home have access to this workplace? 
    • Should they have different carrels? 
    • Do you like to work at the same time? 
    • Are they noisy when they work?
  5. Do others in your household need a totally separate workplace? 
    • If so, where?
  6. Do you have an off-site company do your bills and accounting?
  7. Bad back, neck or legs?
    • Needs a specific task chair?
    • Need a specific temperature?
    • Need a specific desk height?
  8. Online a lot? 
    • Facebook, eBay, ashlymadison.com, etc.
  9. Laptop or Desktop?
  10. Do you do crafts: 
    • Scrap booker, photographer or crafts person?
Obviously, an office can be made to accommodate any wish, but most people think they're locked into pre-determined set-ups. Don’t think your choices are either those pre-made desk sets at Office Depot or an uber custom made extravaganza.

THINGS TO CONSIDER
KIDS
Children ages up to 16-17 are supposed to be in an open part of the house with no privacy for their online time. It's not that your kids are bad, but there's an entire world of freaks and opportunists out there who prey on gullible minds. Pro's say their backs (and monitors) should face the room and it's also good to cluster all the kids computers in a specific computer area; a hallway, office or home computer room. 

DESK TOPS

The desktop should be a temperate and tactile material that is comfortable to the forearms; glass, marble and metal are all cold in any climate. Wood, laminate or leather are ideal.

FLOORS

Floors are easy to keep clean in most office conditions, I prefer carpeting. Cold stone or tile floors make your legs cold in the winter. If you have to have a tile floor consider an electric heat matt that goes under the tile before its installed. A low-pile carpet is easy to use a roller-chair on and absorbs all the noise.

GLARE

Don't put your computer backed up to the window; it's hard on the eyes, bright backlighting makes you squint and your retinas to close. Have the daylight to your back if possible.

SECURITY

Will you need a more secure office?  Is this space too exposed to guests, maids, kids, etc.?  Consider putting things out of view, that's what whets the appetite for nosey types. Second, have important things in lockable drawers or cabinets.

VISIBILITY

Do you see work-related people at home occasionally? Their visit doesn't need to be in your home office, it can be in your library, living room or porch. But if you wanna look like the BMOC with an impressive office for the occasional visitor, think about what you don't want them to see, then create an out of view place for it. Unless you've made your visitor wear blinders they'll naturally look around, its what we all do.

VENTILATION 

You don't want a ceiling fan directly over your desk as it will blow the papers around, and you presumably don't want an air-conditioning vent blowing directly on you either.


"PRETTY" PART TIME WORK STATIONS
For those who do most of their personal work at the office, a small home "station" is a good idea

Oscar de la Renta
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He's got this lovely French desk in his Connecticut country home...but really...you think he does any work at that desk?? C'mon, where's the shit? Where's the wastebasket or laptop at least??

Richard Lambertson & JohnTruex
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Their country house office has a fun assemblage of inexpensive components...metal file drawers with a laminate top; old, steel card-catalogue drawers and good lighting. It's orderly and simple.


DESIGNATED WORK STATIONS
Chances are you don't have a home secretary to bring you your files and retrieve what you need when you snap your fingers, so this is for the rest of us.

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This is my idea of what every home should have! Stations for tasks with drawers, shelves, lighting, etc. I love the palm matting over the bulletin board. The stools are dumb as you MUST have a chair with proper back and leg support.


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This home office has a nice edge; the desk and upper shelves utilize clean-lined pre-fab units.
(I think those Hermes boxes are pretentious as hell) Get baskets that are open and can be labeled or Lucite boxes which are chic even with all the crap showing. It's an office not a showroom!


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OMG how smart is this home office??  It's one end of a family room; she has hers and he has his and it's all hidden behind the louvered doors when they're entertaining! 


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This home office with the windows and view is inspiring (my own desk ALWAYS needs to face a window). It's clean and simple, utilizes inexpensive cabinetry and is cozied up with the matching wooden tops and floors.


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This beautifully appointed home work station has it all: Beautiful cabinetry, a large work-surface, lap drawers and hidden shelving above - which I love. Who needs to see that crap all the time? Yes, closed cabinets cost more, but if you like a less cluttered look, get the upper doors.

This is probably what you have now?
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And this is what you want NOW?
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This is such a handsome space, clean lined with warm tones and everything hidden


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This is a fun casual space for the weekend or summer home, modern, fun & funky


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In this garret room inexpensive laminate drawers are for unsightly junk, flat surfaces for spreading out and a wall of cork board for pinning up stuff. Everything has its place so this tiny office feels orderly.


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This lovely office of some Patrician wordsmith is totally elegant. Surrounded by books and reference materials it screams quality. The laptop is on a small, uncluttered built-in desk, the printer is inside one of the built-ins.


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Another masculine home office with muted beige tones with brown accents is enough to make anyone want to work at home. Notice all the details are the very simplest and architectural, always a nice environment for focusing. 


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A large closet behind the chair with by-pass doors keeps all the crap (printer, copier, etc.) out of sight and allows you to have a writing table which looks open and less bulky than a desk with drawers.

You like things on the wall??
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then do it this way!
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This traditionally decorated office is a great multi-user space with custom cabinetry and a  wonderful wall of cork board. Create a pattern of the photos or a grid, it will give you a sense of order. Stainless tops are impervious but cold to the touch.


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Utilising the corner of the kitchen is perfection of for daily email, homework and bills. The monitors face the room which is good for keeping an eye on what the kids or hubby are looking at too…jus sayin'


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This groovy "niche" office is fun; the use of the black and white photos with the black IKEA shelving and desk is 'cheap-and-chic' 


 PART-TIME WORK STATIONS
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Nooks works well for small tasks like recipes, or letting kids work there while people are in the kitchen. It closes up behind large retracting doors when not in use.


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In my clients beach house I designed the large built-in with retractable doors which hides the TV and stereo equipment on the right, and a work carrel with a pullout keyboard on the left. Underneath are drawers fork napkins and placements and above are open shelves for books and binder storage.



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This re-purposed closet makes a great workspace. 
Shelves, drawers, task lighting and it all gets closed out of sight when the bi-fold doors are closed!


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A fun workspace is hidden behind large sliding doors. It's a smart low-cost work area; the wall shelves are inexpensive and brightened up with the use of the green file boxes. 
An IKEA laminate top resting on two metal file drawers, boom! yer done.


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This contemporary workspace looks custom built but its actually well-coordinated IKEA components.



You can do it, I'm here to help!