Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Discoveries in a Small Kitchen in NYC

Chris Welsh, the designer, had to deal with this alcove kitchen. he used light colors and maximized the light he had with that one window.

That title kinda sounds like a romance novel possibly involving an interior designer. Oh well, I'm keeping it. As you all know, I have a mini kitchen. Seriously, everything is lined up on one wall and the tiles stretch literally less than a foot until it hits the parkay flooring which indicates the transition to the living room. I thought I'd share a few tips for maximizing your space here.

1: Efficiency. Everything must have a place. I have very little counter space so every little inch is precious. To maximize your cabinets, don't feel bad about stacking things more than you normally would. Get cute canisters, too, for silverware or large spoons and spatulas.

In this kitchen by Chad Eisner featured in House Beautiful, he used seeded glass in many of the cabinets which makes them feel lighter. I love the look of open rack shelves in kitchens but in a practical sense, I don't think it works so this is a great alternative.

This is one of my fave kitchens on the planet. It's small but look how well each space is used. Canisters for utensils, little cook book nooks, and custom cabinets. By Stephanie Stokes

2: Wall space. A good place to store things is on the wall. Use this space for a potrack, a magnetic knife strip, or a bulletin board.

These sleek racks are from Pottery Barn. I have my own little rattan spice rack but these are nice and don't take up a lot of space. HERE.

Living Etc. Vintage canisters and a handy wall mounted pot rack.

3: Junk Drawer=NO. I had to forget about having the all purpose junk drawer (the thought scares me anyway) for anything that didn't have a space. Everything MUST have a home so make a bulletin board like I mentioned above. You can tack up invitations, reminders, lists (yay, lists!) or just notes you like that make your day a little brighter.

Here is a cool DIY bulletin board you can make with old corks and a vintage frame. Plus, it has a kitchen vibe. From
Apartment Therapy HERE.

4: Color. I think you have two options here based on your space. If you have a narrow galley style kitchen you can paint it but make sure everything is the same color. If you have a monochromatic room, it makes it look bigger no matter what color you paint it (almost). I have a one walled kitchen so I painted everything a very pale yellow to bring light into the room.

Living etc. Sunny yellow kitchen. Make sure you don't use the wrong yellow though. Results could be shaky.

5: Mirrors. I don't LOVE mirrors as paneling but I've noticed a few designers using mirrors in kitchens to give the illusion of a bigger room. Here you can see it in the inset on the cabinets or the backsplash as in the one above by Stephanie Stokes


By Jonathan Berger.

You and I can have great kitchens and be gourmet cooks too even if we have small kitchens! If you have a large one, make sure it works and it isn't just a massive waste of space. Thoughts? Do you have any tips from your kitchen you'd like to share?

Alicia B.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I want

YUP. I want. I rarely go shopping (as much as I used to) in this economy so when I want something, I feel like I really have to want it. I've saved up (kinda) for these adorable and super chic pants from jcrew and I'm going to get them today after work! Thoughts?

Minnie Pants from JCrew. These are so perfect for Fall!

Alicia B.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rando Design Inspiration Friday!

Cool art table via abccreativity

I'm approaching this weekend with a bit of trepidation. I know I have a lot to do for school when all I really want to do is go downtown and shop around and hit up a flea market or two. OH WELL, these are the sacrifices I have to make for my future/school. I'll be at school chained to a drafting table. Not like the one above--they are all white and pristine but the one above looks like fun. I am jazzed that it's Friday because I'm pretty tired so here are some relaxing nap inducing rooms. Enjoy!

I love this kind of window here with a window seat. The light streaming in looks so warm and inviting. Interior by Courtney Giles.

My new favored designer is Chad Eisner. He has amazing taste as you can see above with that fun and surprising drum shade. Check out his portfolio HERE.

This whimsical coffee table keeps the room from feeling too stuffy. I'd love to have a soft arm chair like that one by the window. From Katie Sellers.

I would just love to skip out of work right now (at 10:30 eek!) and sit in a window seat warmed by the sun and read a book. But alas, I'll be out soon enough I guess and only to start madly thinking about rearranging a mini kitchen in an inventive way so that my teacher won't yell at me. What are your plans? Outside? Inside? With family and friends?

Alicia B.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Falling for Yellow

GAWGEOUS yellow diamond from 1st Dibs

I've always been crazy for the color yellow. Different shades can be happy, demure, sunny, or subtle but either way it makes me feel warm inside. Also,I look great in yellow, so that's a plus. I've been noticing lots of yellow lately (particularly yellow and grey), but not the bright lemon yellow that we saw in the spring, it's more of a soft yellow with a feeling of gold in it.

Alicia B. Designs. WOW, she's a genius!

This contrast of yellow and black is so striking. via material girls blog.

This is from good old Domino. I normally would shy away from this marigold shade but it works really well with the soft browns. Oh and I think we all know how much I love painted brick walls!

Elizabeth Stuart Design. I like the gilded furniture and frames and the yellow upholstery. So elegant.

This bedroom looks very cozy and quiet with the red and orange quilt and striped yellow wallpaper. Also of note: asymmetrical frames. Just sayin'. Designed by Chad Eisner.

This might by my favorite of the bunch but I haven't decided. The contrast of the yellow and the blue is pure heaven. And don't think you can get away with white washing the floors and painting a design on them and now have me go crazy for it. By Jeffrey Bilhuber.

Have you all noticed this gravitation towards yellow, too? I find it to be a nice welcome to fall. The color is warm without being too harsh or abrasive. All these interiors look soft. I'm in.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Furniture Joint

I just received an email announcing the new Furniture Joint website and it reminded me that I had had an intense desire to learn upholstery a while back. You might even say, I was jonesin' to learn the art of upholstery at The Furniture Joint. They offer classes there at the shop down town and I am dying to learn!

Maybe this will help with my sewing skills, as well!

This is Matthew Haly, the owner, who also has a book out called Matthew Haly's Book of Upholstery. THINKING I may pick that up as well!

There is just something in me that loves to do things on my own. After putting a lot of work into something (not just money), and looking at what you've made, it is an incredibly satisfying feeling. Reupholstering something can be quite pricey and perhaps if I knew a little bit about it, I could do some of it on my own--the simple things at least. Has anybody taken classes there? Fun?

Alicia B.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A White Bedroom for My Sister

My younger sister came to me for help with her new room off campus at school. This will be her first real chance to make her room "her own." She expressed to me that she was much more feminine in design than she thought and she wanted lots of white furniture to create a calm and cozy room. I was surprised to say the least, but it makes sense. Here are some white clad rooms that I think she might drift towards.

Spence Hogan Harris provides an adequate amount of femininity with very little color here. I love the detailing on the bedframe and the fabric behind the upholstered headboard. Someone needs to make the bed though...

Marie Claire maison. This is simple and spare looking but I think a little too spare for my sister. I think this could be remedied with a big puffy down quilt and some well chosen pillows.

Marie Claire Maison. The bed stuck in the nook makes this look super cozy despite the industrial looking bed frame. It looks like antiqued galvanized metal, yes?

Despite the lack of color, even I can get on board with this room. The punches of color here are enough to satisfy me. Coburn Architecture and Interiors.

Living Etc. More galvanized metal and a big chunky blanket that looks perfect for this fall and winter!

Tom Stringer. Okay, I know this isn't all white but this is so beautiful I couldn't stop. The yellow nightstands and upholstered headboard look so sunny here.

I think sometimes I'm a 7 year old girl in a 23 year old's body because pretty much anything pink is good in my book. OKAY I'm 26-JEEZ get off my back! Pink loveliness by Gary Mcbournie.

Country Living. This is probably my dream for a white interior. Something with a country feeling with lots of texture to replace the lack of color would be ideal for me.

My sister ended up getting sheets from Pine Cone Hill and various pieces of white furniture that I helped her select. For art, she has a few of my framed photographs which it sounds will be very dramatic in her space. Given her choice, she would order everything from Pottery Barn Teen, but I'm happy that she has put a lid on that idea as she is 21 years old. I am very excited to see how everything turns out when everything arrives!
Alicia B.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bright Star: The Movie

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
-John Keats

Ever the romantic, John Keats is feeling what it is like to lie on top of a tree under the sky.
This past Friday, my former (but not old) roommate and I went down town to see the movie Bright Star; a romantic story about the poet, John Keats. While my friend couldn't get over how dreamy she thought John Keats's friend and fellow poet, Charles Brown was, I was caught up in the costumes, the poetry (that goes for both of us), and of course, the interiors.

This was a love story between Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) and John Keats (Ben Whishaw). She sewed nearly everything she wore and was always dressed at the height of fashion as a girl in the English countryside.

Here she is examining this amazing collar that she sewed herself for a party. Amazing. Her bedroom was also very dreamy.
This is at the next house over where John Keats lived with his friend Charles Brown. Aren't the panelled wall and the large shuttered windows incredible? No wonder Keats became such an incredible poet in such a short time. via ropesofsilicon.com

Great room, large windows and beautiful yet simple furniture but ...check out the floors!

You really must see this movie. It's a beautiful and sweet love story complete with great costumes, handsome men that recite poetry at the drop of a hat, a cute little red haired girl, and just straight up incredible houses/interiors. Has anybody else seen it?

Alicia B.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Random Design Inspiration Friday

Happy Friday Everyone! This week has been a huge whirlwind of life, class, yoga, drafting, fabrics, the list goes on for me. Needless to say, I have barely had a moment to just sit and be. Judging by my schedule for this coming weekend, I'd say this is my only chance to do just that. Here are a smattering of gorgeous interiors that just make you go, "ahhh."

Sharon Simonaire. This round sunroom is full of light and movement. The sun bounces off of those blue mosaic tiles, shimmering and making it look like water. Also who can resist that antique industrial style light fixture, or a pug for that matter?

I'm feeling like I need a little more orange in my life now that fall is fast approaching. This small office interior is by John Loecke, who is a color lover just like I am (or who I aspire to be)!

The wall paper matches the upholstery here in this interior by Gary McBournie making the room seem cozy, but not claustrophobic. I think i need a big chunky throw like that blue one for my loveseat this winter.

Emma Jane Pilkington is popping up everywhere and rightfully so. Her interiors are inventive and quite pretty. I adore the ikat fabric on the chairs and the soft grey wall color. I can't wait to see more of her portfolio. (this pic via Orange Beautiful)

I think being able to look at a space and have that reaction is the best goal to have as a designer. You don't want someone to walk into a space and feel uptight or constricted (or do you??). This weekend, I'll be drawing a floor plan of my mini kitchen, having a rematch with the bf on the tennis courts tomorrow (I will not let him win again!), strolling along the High Line on the west side, and probably doing more homework. What will you be doing? Designing? Relaxing? Traveling? Fill me in.

Alicia B.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Shopping with Alicia B: Round Table Lamps Edition

From Pottery Barn, this Japanese Float glass lamp is so nautically charming! Even though $200 seems steep, it is handblown glass and hand knotted jute wrapped around it.

As promised, I went on a shopping expedition for round table lamps. I love circles; they are a complete form, but at the same time very organic. Ready for some circular, whole, organic fun?!

This is a classic stacked crystal ball lamp from Target. Only $149 with a shade, and let me tell you, shades can be pricey so this just makes it easy!

Another nautical lamp (are we sensing a personal preference here?), this one from Shades of Light. It looks like a real old lantern in between the base and shade, right? Nautical Outdoor Table Lamp $170.

Lamp Work Room is one of my favorite places to look for lamps. They are so creative and inventive. This antique Mercury Glass Ball lamp is unique and has that special vintage feel to it. If anybody wants to buy it for me, FEEL FREE.

Speaking of a vintage glam feeling...Anthropologie! Here is another glass lamp, this time with some color. The Cooled Globes Lamp is $298.

Squat and full of character, this lamp is from Shades of Light. It also comes in white but I love the organic feel of this--it looks like a little apple! Bubble Sphere table lamp only $99!

See what I mean about how charm filled and fun these little ball/round/spherical lamps are? I have a little wicker ball lamp that I found a few years ago and it is the perfect size for a side table in my bedroom. Also, in the spirit of downsizing, these lamps are really quite perfect. They give off just as much light and fit perfectly in a small place.

Alicia B.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lighting Obsession: Round Pendant Edition

Globe Pendant. Pretty and simple from West Elm.

I have said before that I have a great love for really great lighting. There is so much out there but what I've really fallen for lately are round pendants. They are simple and beautiful. There are plenty of amazing lanterns out there, so lets take a look at something a little bit different, shall we?

Pheobe Howard. Is this floor of the hallway not fabulous? The glossy black walls, the floor and of course, the round glass pendant together are so glam.

The orange is surprising, but they look like fun light balloons bouncing along the hallway. By Katie Ridder.

I think this kitchen designed by Joan Schindler is a complete and utter masterpiece. There's no two ways about it. With marble countertops and a custom refrigerator I'm pretty sure it was House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year two years ago and for good reason. I think without those gorgeous antique pendants that it wouldn't have won.

Hamilton Design had an amazing space with high ceilings to work with. I love that they chose open fixtures like these to add to the open look of the room.

Again, if these fixtures had been taken away, the room would have looked incomplete. The round aspect adds an element of surprise and something unexpected. Unfortunately, I have your typical boring flush mount lights in my apartment so I have to make do with pretty table and floor lamps! I'll have a little run down of some fun table lamps coming up in the next few days if you're a renter like I am, or need a table lamp!

Alicia B.