Okay, ya'll, let's talk about furniture. Today, I want to begin addressing one of the most difficult decisions one faces when crafting a living space – selecting the right sofa. Seems relatively simple, right? I mean, it's just a sofa. Wrong.
I recently learned this, firsthand, while selecting the best sofa for my own space. Yes, even Interior Designers struggle with decision-making in their own homes. No kidding, ya'll, I lost sleep over this decision. There is an endless list of companies selling "the perfect sofa" – and then you've got to deal with size, shape, color, foam density, and the list goes on. For me, everything got easier when I found the right manufacturer, but there was still a long way to go. For Part I of this series, we're going to focus on Form. We'll get into the Pretty Nitty-Gritty (color, style, fabric, etc) in Part II. For now, let's chat about manufacturers, size, function, and shape...
Where do I even look?
If you've ever considered purchasing a sofa, you've learned that those suckers can get expensive. Unless you can afford that perfect $10,000 sofa at the name-brand luxury furniture store, you're going to have to do some hunting. Like I said – everyone is going to tell you that their sofa is superior, but most are lying. With many of the other mid- to upper-tier furniture companies, you're dealing with the poor construction of really bad materials that happened to be wrapped in an okay-looking upholstery. From the outside, some aren't too terrible looking – especially when styled within that ideal in-store vignette.
These "value" pieces just aren't going to hold up, though, and you can bet on that one. When starting the process of designing my own home, I quickly learned that I wouldn't buy my sofa from the mass-retailers that most turn to. I began searching for something new and different, and eventually stumbled upon Interior Define. FINALLY! I know where I will buy my future sofa. Let me just tell you – finding this company was like breathing a big gulp of fresh air. The customer service is transparent and personalized, and the staff is knowledgable, accomodating, and friendly. Best of all, each sofa is completely custom and bears a price tag 30-40% lower than many comparable high-end brands. SOLD.
Now that you know where you'd like to purchase your sofa, we need to think about sizing. Obviously, this decision hinges drastically on the size of your space. I'd begin by thinking about the focal point of your room. Do you want your sofa to serve as the main feature of the space, or would you like to include other statement pieces of furniture? If you've already invested in large-scale heavy lounge chairs, I'd consider a smaller sofa with a lighter frame. If you're like me, and already own smaller-scale lounge pieces, you're in the safe zone for a large-scale hefty sofa that demands some respect. My lounge chairs are a set of vintage Bertoia diamond chairs, so I opted for a bulky sofa that would offset the dainty frame of the chairs. It's all about balance and identifying a feature for the space.
Besides considering the shape of the room, I'd also consider your ceiling height. Most people don't weigh this major factor into their furniture selection process. Did you know that your furniture can make your ceilings look higher or lower, depending on their scale? Ultimately, you can create a room that seems bigger than it actually is – you just need to know how to choose the right furniture! What is the height of your ceiling? If you're on the lower end, I'd go with a sofa with legs and an airy frame – like the Owens or Asher. The lightness of the sofa will give your space the illusion of higher ceilings. If you've got a space with higher ceilings, like a large and open loft, I'd select a lower sofa that will deliver the illusion of a more intimate space with lower ceilings. The Ainsley and the Gray are great options for this type of space.
Knowing the desired function of your sofa will help you make decisions about the components of its construction and its orientation within the space. We'll get into upholstery options in Part II, but seat density is something that you'll want to consider early on. Fortunately, Interior Define offers countless custom options online, but they offer even more options over the phone or in person at their flagship Chicago showroom. If you want your sofa to be oriented for TV-watching and serve as a big fluffy cloud to cuddle with a bowl of popcorn, consider requesting a low-density foam with mega-softness and "give" in the seat- and back-cushions. It's a recipe for daytime naps and movie marathons. If your living room will be a place used primarily for conversation or family games, I'd request a firm high-density foam construction that will allow more upright sitting. Both construction types will be extremely comfortable, but Interior Define's high customization let you take things to the next level. Each sofa is available in 3 different cushion-fill options, so have some fun exploring and choosing the right one for you!
Finally, let's chat about shape. For this part of the series, we're not getting into "style." For now, let's talk about shape in its most simple sense We've got a few options to look at. Most sofas are made with one of three basic shapes – straight, straight with a chaise, or full-on L-shaped. Round or curved sofas our out there, but their application is far less common. The size of your space and desired function of the sofa will help you make a decision on shape, but it's good to consider a few more factors. With the right shape, a sofa can serve as a great separation between two spaces. If you're dealing with an open floorplan, use an L-shape sofa to separate the living and dining areas. The Crawford is the perfect shape to act as a divider. If you're interested in adding a collection of lounge chairs and side tables, I'd go for a clean straight-run sofa that will consume less square footage. I love the simplicity of the Sloan and the Lucy. These sofas will also prepare your landscape for the execution of almost any style. For you nappers and movie-watching moguls, a straight sofa with a chaise simply can't be beat. If you've got the space for it, this shape will deliver supreme comfort and flexibility. Shape is typically the easiest part of the sofa-selection process, especially since most of Interior Define's designs are available in 5+ configurations. Fortunately, if you've fallen in love with a style, it's likely available in many different shapes and custom sizes.
Stay tuned for Part II, ya'll – we're going to chat about all things pretty! In my next Sofa Series post, we'll get into upholstery materials, color, and style.
There's only one thing that I love more than art on a wall – and that would be huge, oversized, in-your-face art on a wall. Minted has done it again, ya'll. My favorite art marketplace is now offering their largest size ever, a whopping 40" x 54". I was lucky enough to receive one for my own home, and let me tell you, it's truly the feature of our entire space. To give you a little frame of reference – I am only 65" tall, so this monster is almost as big as me! When a space boasts large blank walls and 16-foot ceilings, massive art is an absolute requirement. It seriously helped to visually fill the space like nothing else could have. I've mounted mine next to the large windows, and it's the focal point as you walk down the stairs from the second level of the loft. I chose a print entitled "Beach III" by Jennifer Little. I love the cool Californian color tones and the surf imagery. I am completely enchanted by the West Coast, and this photograph reminds me of everything that I love about my adopted home.
Ah, my garment rack! This heavy-duty piece of beauty has carried me through 3 different California homes. In fact, it's one of the only things that have made it to all three apartments (I purge & re-decorate constantly)! In my new home, where wood chip flooring dominates the landscape of the bedroom, the reclaimed wood rack just wasn't doing it for me anymore. I have a little rule-of-thumb that I use when designing – no more than 2 wood types/species right next to eachother. If there are more than 2 in the same room, they should be spread out across the space and compliment one another in tone, texture, and color. I just couldn't handle the little corner where the floor, the reclaimed garment rack, and the vintage mid-century modern came together. It's been driving me insane.
Since moving in, I've spent quite some time thinking about how to deal with things. I've always dreamt of gorgeous white-washed floors with subtle wear and charm. But, since painting my floors wasn't an option in a rental, I began thinking of changing the furniture instead. Well, painting our vintage Broyhill bedroom suite definitely wasn't an option. That thought was immediately out. My next idea was to white-wash the pallet wood panels that compose the base and shelves of my garment rack! I might never live in that cute little all-white Scandinavian apartment, so this felt like a decent Option B.
Off to the paint store! I stopped by Kelly Moore to pick up a small can of paint. Since the base of the garment rack holds shoes, I chose a durable satin finish in "Whitest White." It took two coats of paint to get the color where I wanted it. I am so happy with the way it turned out! I really love the reclaimed wood version of the past, but it was just time to give this piece of furniture a new life! If there's anything that you're just tired of, especially a piece of furniture, I'm here to tell you that there's always a way to make it feel brand new. I was seriously on the verge of listing the rack on Craigslist – I'm so happy that I gave it another shot!
Vinyl enthusiasts, BEHOLD. I've found the perfect furniture for your record playing shrine. I can't get over the quality and detail in Atocha Design's pieces. Each one carries a timeless elegance – it seems like the only proper way to display and store your hard-earned vinyl collection. The cherry on top? Each piece is handmade in America. You can't beat that.
Imagery c/o Atocha Design
MOROSO, Gentry Sofa by Patricia Urquiola
Good morning! Today, I want to share an incredible resource with you - Sean Woolsey. I actually discovered him through my boyfriend, and have been a lover of his work (and Instagram feed) for some time now. He's a maker-extraordinaire from Southern California, and his designs are fresh & wildly unique. It's his approach to his work, though, that really captured my admiration. Sean builds each piece to last - not just for a year or two - but for generations. I also admire his quirky approach to, well, everything. How about the super cute photos of his furniture? Those might be the cutest kids I've ever seen. I've had the opportunity to discuss projects with Sean in the past, and he's very kind and insanely easy to work with. I can't wait to use his wonderful work in a project soon, and hopefully check out his studio someday. On a personal note - I'm absolutely dying over his Rosso Marble table. If I don't get to use it in a project soon, I might just have to buy it for myself. Enjoy!
All photos provided by Sean Woolsey
About 3 months ago, I moved into a beautiful Victorian apartment along the Panhandle in San Francisco. I've been posting sporadic updates on Instagram, but realized that I haven't shared a holistic design update yet! My bedroom has a couple of unique features that made space planning challenging. I decided to forego a headboard, because the main wall curves into a wide arc. Additionally, I have TWO closets in my bedroom! This feature is a blessing and a curse, at the same time. Both closet doors are located on the same wall, making it impossible to place storage or artwork along this wall.
My vintage Persian rug and wooden work table are hand-me-downs from my Mom. Before I moved to SF, we found my Mid-Century dining chairs at a thrift shop for $40. They were hideous, so my Mom and I reupholstered them in a vibrant cut velvet fabric. I absolutely love them and we will never part. My vintage Kilim accent pillows and my Tom Dixon pendant are my favorite things about my bedroom. I've had my eye on that light fixture for years - I'm so happy to finally own one. The chair next to my garment rack is from Bend Goods, and I bought the shearling hide from Moore & Giles. Oh, and that furry white chair - it's vintage Steelcase. Also found at a thrift store and reupholstered by hand.
I think my new space is a true representation of myself. I refinished (or made) the majority of my furniture, so it feels like a true labor of love. What's your favorite thing about your home? Happy Friday!
Early on Sunday morning, my boyfriend and I stopped by The Mill for a relaxing cup of coffee. We had a little extra time to hang out, so we each brought some reading material. For me, preferred "reading material" is usually the latest home furnishings catalogs or a selection from my crop of design magazines. The new Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co. catalog had arrived on Saturday, so I pulled it out to browse for inspiration on current projects. I was casually flipping through when — about halfway through — the pages caught Sean's attention. He asked to have a look, and was immediately engrossed in the amazing photography. Within minutes he had looked across the table and asked: "Can our home look like this someday?" It's not difficult to see that Schoolhouse is doing some pretty great things, lately. I'm crazy about their new light fixture collection, especially. Besides the incredible products, their catalog styling is just about perfect — you could actually take interior design cues from it.
all images via Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.
Good Morning! Today, I'm wildly excited to share one of my latest projects. A couple of weeks ago, I attended Everlane's Open Studio with a few friends. While having coffee afterwards, I met Ryan Hall, one of Piperlime's talented Graphic Designers. Through this relationship, I was given the opportunity to design Piperlime's San Francisco Popup. I worked with my design firm, Gensler, to get the job done quickly. The experience was an absolute dream. Despite the short time-frame and unusual programmatic challenges, things worked out beautifully in the end.
The concept for the popup was inspired by the quintessential Manhattan apartment of Piperlime's "It" girl. It is sophisticated, elegant, and whimsical. The most unique aspect of this project was that I managed to secure all furniture on loan. Because of the short lifespan of the popup (2 days), it didn't make sense for Piperlime to buy thousands of dollars worth of furniture. I had less than a week to source and secure all furniture, while simultaneously coordinating a cohesive design. I couldn't be more pleased with the final design and installation. My amazing furniture and accessory vendors (see links below!) really stepped up and helped this project become a reality! I couldn't have done it without our incredible partners. This was one of the most rapid, down-and-dirty efforts I've ever worked towards, but it was also the most rewarding. Without further a due...
Last night, I got to spend the evening atop Mount Tam with old & new friends. We watched the sunset above the fog and were each overwhelmed by the beauty of the sight. I couldn't get over the way the light from the burning sun interacted with the thick bed of fog. It was incredible - and pretty difficult to capture on camera. Though it's impossible to capture the beauty of creation with human hands, I was inspired to think of ways I can capture the essence of a sunset in interior spaces. Using my photos from last night as inspiration, I curated a small collection of products that mimic the color & texture of the sunset that we saw. Enjoy, and go catch a sunset of your own! I've got a ton of Bay Area spots that offer the perfect vantage to watch it, if you need a recommendation!
1. Surya Abstract Pillow 2. Jonas Wagell Cloud Pendant 3. Ercol Love Seat in Graded Mandarin 4. Woven Laine Hand-woven Wall Hanging 5. How Are You Cushion Cover 6. Calico Aurora Wallcovering Collection 7. (again) Eric Trine Ombre Rod+Weave Chair
Over the last month or so, I've reflected a lot on the furniture trends that I uncovered during design week in New York. This spring & summer, I've noticed a lot of leather furniture. This doesn't seem like anything new, right? The interesting thing about the furniture isn't the leather itself, though, it's the application of the leather. This year, it's being used in strips and straps. I love the light and airy qualities of the chairs & stools that I've sourced below. They are contemporary, yet timeless, with a touch of edginess. Sometimes, a fully upholstered leather chair feels heavy and unsuitable for the space. You're going to love these sophisticated alternatives!
1. Phloem Studio / Nadine Lounge 2. Eric Trine / Rod + Weave Chair 3. Miles & May / May Lounge Chair 4. Michael Robbins / Ranger Stool 5. Casa Midy / Punta Maroma Stool 6. Stephen Kenn / Inheritance Collection Armchair
Every so often, I like to dig into the depths of my Evernote files and click through my list of favorite interior photographers. Once again, I caught myself spending extra time on Jonas Ingerstedt's site. His interior photography is absolutely incredible - and I've definitely mentioned him before. This particular space caught my eye because, honestly, the designer has used all of my favorite chairs. In one apartment! It's almost too much. I've been on a bit of a Herman Miller kick lately - and dream of Eames chairs on daily basis. During DWR's recent Herman Miller sale, the daydreams actually got a little uncontrollable. The colorful molded plastic side and arm chairs are the essence of perfection, and the Eames lounge chair is simply better than perfect. Aside from the incredible furniture, I also love the overall styling of this space. I'll take that pink skateboard, please!
Since returning from NYCxDesign, I've been a little bit high on inspiration. I discovered so many incredible furniture makers that I hope to work with on future projects. Hinterland Design, out of Vancouver, was one of my very favorite vendors showing at ICFF. Their products stood out as unique, fresh, & innovative. My favorite piece of furniture, not represented on Hinterland's website, is a stool with a seat constructed of bright & colorful crab netting. Because the furniture is made in a town with a prominent crab fishing community, Hinterland sought out to repurpose excess netting. I love that! The stool was surprisingly strong - several guests sat and even bounced on the comfortable seat. I also love the vibrant pops of color represented in the "Little Gem" side tables and "Good Side" coffee table. Life is far too short to live without furniture this fun & inspiring.
During my third day at ICFF, I was drawn to a few unique products. I love the approachable & fun colors used by O&G, Blue Dot, and Bend Goods. I am thrilled to see that Blu Dot and Bend have both released new colors in two of my favorite chairs! I also love the tribal graphics on Sauder's gorgeous coffee table and the wonderful craftsmanship represented in Workstead's lighting. I think today might be my favorite feature, yet!
ICFF Day 2 was a complete success. I left the show with more inspiration and excitement over everything that I saw! I was particularly drawn to the delicacy of the glass in the light fixtures below, and the interesting materials used on the stools. I love the woven & knotted seat of the Hinterland stool - it was easily one of my favorite pieces in the entire show. This stool is made in Canada, where there is a robust crab fishing industry. The netting on the stool is repurposed from crab fishing nets. So unique! I also love Emeco's new collection. The SU stool, with a cement seat, is my favorite new product. I'm also crazy about the Drop chair. I am thrilled that Fritz Hansen has re-released this classic. I hope you're enjoying the ICFF snippets, and would love to hear favorites. I'll be back tomorrow with more! Fritz Hansen Alex Allen Emeco
I thought I'd drop in and share a few quick iPhone snaps from the week. I've checked out so many beautifully designed spaces and enjoyed a lot of experiences that are quite unique to New York! On Thursday, I explored the retail scene in SoHo. The Carhartt store, on Crosby, completely stole the cake. I love the bright neon sign and minimal display fixtures. I also got to view the skyline, at sunset, from the top of the Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District. It was breathtaking! I also really enjoyed exploring Brooklyn and the Flatiron District. I grabbed coffee with a friend at the Nomad Hotel Library Bar. It was nice to take a morning to sit quietly and relax. Lastly, check out my cute little hotel room! I'm staying at The Row, in Hell's Kitchen. I love the bright graphics and clean finish palette. Stay tuned for more updates from ICFF later today!
I share a lot throughout the day on Instagram. You can follow me here!
It's here! ICFF 2014 has officially begun. I can describe ICFF pretty easily in two words: "Inspiration Overload." I mean, it's unreal! There are hundreds of exhibitor booths (over 600!) - and each one as intriguing as the last. Because there is far too much to see in one day, I've decided to share bits and pieces over a Daily Take 5. Each day, I'll share some of the best things I saw. Today was easy! These products completely wow'ed me. I hope you're as inspired as I am, and be sure to check back for more.
Several weeks back, I talked about an Edelkoort trend report that I attended. The 12 trends have impacted & inspired my thinking about design ever since. Though these ideas won't fully mature for at least another year, I'm seeing the trends begin to evolve even now. One of the trend categories, entitled "Bare," involves elements of design that are reminiscent of flesh. This includes color, texture, and volume. I'm always drawn to living spaces that feature the warm, soft, and inviting characteristics of flesh. I love these new lounge chairs upholstered in flesh tones. I can't wait for the opportunity to test this trend on a new project.... via Jeannette Lunde