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Home Office & Living Room Redesign

Ready to see a fresh, modern home office space? How about a living room with lots of pattern for a busy family with pets? Interior Designer Vanessa De Vargas who owns Turquoise, a Los Angeles-based furniture and interior design business wrote in to share a recent project with us and after viewing the space, I thought I’d ask her a few questions and share her answers here today as it’s always fun to get inside the mind of a designer. Let’s check out this office and living space, shall we?

First of all, what inspired this fab office space? First let me say that before I started to decorate the room it was very dark. The walls were dark brown, the desk was dark and there was a dark brown mirror that hung above the desk. When I first met with my client she basically said to me, “Please, I don’t want any dark colors — I want pink accents, a mirrored cabinet, and a Venetian mirror, can we do that?”, and I thought hey, if that’s what you want, lets decorate it that way!

How did you decide on the wallpaper given that there are thousands to choose from on the market these days? I researched tons of papers and when I came across the silver and white circular one, I knew that was it. I honestly didn’t even show her any other wallpapers. So to answer your question my client was the inspiration, she told me what she wanted and based on her wants I then took my design expertise and made the office come to life!

Where did you find a majority of your furnishings and accessories? The desk she already had so that was a newer purchase including the custom cabinet we had made at a local furniture store and the desk chair. The lamp and accessories are from Jonathan Adler and the desk lamp, Moroccan table and bamboo chair (with the Lulu DK Chant fabric) were all re-vamped vintage pieces. The rug was from West Elm.

Is the silhouette on the wall of anyone in particular? No that’s actually a vintage silhouette that she purchased from me.

Where is that amazing task chair from? The chair is a reproduction Eames task chair that we had reupholstered in outdoor paisley fabric from Sunbrella.

Next up, the living room:

In the living room, what made you go with a neutral, darker palette? The living room is also the TV room. My clients have 3 kids and 2 dogs so I made sure the furniture pieces where either dark in color, had a pattern or were upholstered in outdoor fabrics. They also loved the color royal blue so we incorporated that in the custom tufted chair, custom benches and accent pillows. I also thought that having a nice neutral background (meaning the walls) was a great way to have the furniture pieces pop.

There’s a lot of pattern but it’s subtle, any tips on how to use a lot of pattern in a space without going overboard? That is a good question Holly, this was really the first time I used many different patterns under one space. I think that if you stay in the same size family of each of the patterns and stay consistent in the colors palette, you can use a few patterns at once. I noticed that when I pulled other patterns that were bigger in size they either over powered the look or made it look too busy.

What in this space belongs to the client that you were able to keep in the mix?The only thing that was there was the built in TV unit. Everything was new that we brought in. Including all the accessories on the shelves and the trays in the rooms.

Thanks Vanessa for the show and tell!

Psst: If you’re in the Los Angeles area and would like to network with designers and other creatives, Vanessa leads a popular design pow wow called Designers Networking Group (DNG) which is held monthly giving all a chance to network, enjoy some eats and drinks, and best of all — no charge! Just attend, bring those business cards and enjoy an evening out. More information here.

If you have a questions for Vanessa, please comment below and she’ll stop by to answer, thanks!

(images: vanessa de vargas)

Posted in designers, workspace on March 16, 2009

Happy Weekend! {and video}

It’s Friday afternoon and time to wrap up and go about our weekend activities but I discovered something over at Pia’s blog that cannot be missed! InFrame TV is a video channel for creative types worldwide and they produce short videos in Melbourne, Australia profiling, “original and arresting Australian and international talent working in arts, design and culture.” Their goal is to, “provide unprecedented access to the thoughts, insights, and inspirations of people who create”.

One of their videos that I particularly loved spotlights decorator, shop owner, and collector Lyn Gardner. If you recall, I showed you a glimpse of how Lyn lives here. I’m a huge fan of her work so seeing her live, touring viewers of her lovely shop, really inspired me today and I know you’ll love to watch this 4 minute video below.

I’m taking Monday (Presidents Day) off, so I’ll meet you here on Tuesday, February 17th. Enjoy your long and loving weekend. hubba hubba. (image from living and more magazine, germany)

Posted in designers, inspiration on February 13, 2009

Meet Pia Jane Bijkerk via Australian Edge

When I was in Amsterdam this past Autumn for a decor8 blogger meet and greet (photos here), I had the pleasure of sitting down with the talented thirtysomething stylist/photographer/decorator Pia Jane Bijkerk and it was such an enjoyable conversation. Pia is so very down-to-earth and chatty, we could have talked all night and well into the next morning. I’ve included some images from her professional portfolio here in this post for you to admire.

When Clayton contacted me from Australian Edge telling me that he had the honor of interviewing her, I knew I had to post it here because I think you will really like it. Here’s the link to the interview, enjoy!

And if you want to learn more about Pia and her inspirations please check out her blog.

Thank you, Clayton!

(images from australian edge)

Posted in designers, interviews on December 16, 2008

Meet Instant/Space by Burnham Design

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Kelly Galvin Robson, Director of Instant/Space by Burnham Design and would love for you to hear what she has to say about the latest extension of Betsy Burnham’s design firm – Instant/Space. You’ll learn what Instant/Space is and more so please take a moment to read the discussion between Kelly and I.

decor8: Hi Kelly! So glad to have you here on decor8 today. Tell me, how long have you been working with the fabulous Betsy Burnham?

KGR: For almost 4 years, and have been lucky enough to work with Instant/Space for the last 2 years.

decor8: What exactly IS Instant/Space? I briefly read a blurb about it in Domino magazine awhile back (Feb ’07)…and it looked really interesting for budget and time conscious girls on the go.

KGR: Instant/Space is an alternative service from Burnham Design and it offers clients a do-it-yourself interior design for a reasonable fee. It is for clients who don’t really want or need Burnham Design’s full range of services, and have an appreciation for the aesthetic. Some clients may want to address only one or two rooms in their house, others may have a limited budget, or want to do their own purchasing based on a design “master plan.” Regardless, all of our clients want to achieve a custom interior design and be active in the design process, so Instant/Space is really the perfect design service for them.

Domino mention of Instant/Space.

decor8: You mentioned the Burnham Design aesthetic. For those who aren’t familiar with what it is can you elaborate please?

KGR: It is a mix of high end and vintage. We prefer a layered, “collected” look that’s at the same time tailored and clean.

decor8:
I know your main office is located in Los Angeles but I heard you are not, where are you?

KGR: My office is on the east coast outside of Philadelphia. However, Betsy and I work together on every Instant/Space project.

decor8: How do you find your clients?

KGR: Many of our clients know Betsy’s work and find us through the Burnham Design site. Others contact us after seeing a press mention.

decor8: Do you see a future in e-consulting as perhaps a new trend in design and if yes, why?

KGR: Absolutely. Our clients lead very busy lives, and offering a service that’s available online is a huge plus in terms of their time. Furthermore it represents a move toward more affordable professional decorating… and in the current economic climate, this is a big advantage.

decor8: I agree! Explain briefly how e-design works? For example let’s say a client has a 10′ x 12′ bedroom that needs to be decorated and I have zero time to do it. How can you help?

KGR: We can provide you with a custom interior design based on your personal design style and individual design challenges. We really think about every client individually — how they will use the space, who will be using the space, etc. Every single box is different and it is important to us that our clients really love their finished design.

decor8: More details, please!

KGR: When a client decides to order Instant/Space, they first send us pictures and dimensions of the room(s). Then, we ask for inspirational images from magazines, websites, etc (to help illustrate the design style that they are trying to achieve), and our completed online questionnaire (to further identify their design preferences and challenges). In four to six weeks, the client receives their completed instant/space box in the mail. Every box includes a personalized design concept board, a detailed schematic furniture plan (drawn to scale), a swatchbook containing all of the furnishings and accessories for the room, an additional swatchbook with samples of the fabric and paint selected for the space, a detailed shopping list, and a step by step explanation of how to pull of these elements together. The rest is up to them!

decor8: Great! What happens if some of the fabric or items you suggest are ‘trade only’, how can a client purchase those?

KGR: If we include “trade only” items in our design, clients have the ability to order these items through Burnham Design. For a small markup, we take care of ordering, tracking and shipping.

decor8: Next scenario… let’s assume that you’ve suggested wallpaper or paint to a client and they have no time to source for these products or locate contractors to do the work. Can you come to the rescue?

KGR: We don’t expect our clients to paint or do difficult installations themselves! Often we’ll ask if they have competent subcontractors for this work, and if they don’t, we’ll do our best to help locate them.

decor8: Excellent. Let’s talk money. What are the fees involved?

KGR: Instant/Space fees vary from $895.00 to $1,495.00 depending on the size and function of the room. All of our pricing may be found on our website.

decor8: You already touched upon it, but what type of client (besides a busy one!) seems to be attracted to this type of service?

KGR: Most are professional people who have an interest in design but seek a professional’s advice. Many have just moved, gotten married, or purchased their first home. Some have just had a baby and need to decorate a nursery. Our clients come from all over the country, cities and suburbs. The one thing they all have in common is that they admire the Burnham Design aesthetic and want our style to be reflected in their space.

decor8: And to wrap things up, on a more personal level, what do you think is the absolute pro of this particular service?

KGR: The best part is the response that we receive from clients. Most clients are surprised that we were able to capture their design style so well without ever meeting them in person, others love the way that Instant/Space allows them to purchase furniture at their own pace. The experience is really fun, and I think that clients appreciate how easy and convenient it is.

decor8: Thank you so much Kelly for sitting in with us today, best wishes on your business (Betsy too!) and to all of the e-decorators out there – you can do it!

Readers: If you are interested in reading more on the topic of e-decorating here is a post from June 2008 that appeared on decor8 (be sure to read the comments on each too!): e-Decorating – Your Thoughts.

Do you have any additional questions that you would like to ask Kelly? If so, please comment below.

(images from burnham design and instant/space.)

Posted in Decorating Tips, designers, interviews on October 29, 2008

Books:

Some of my books...

Further editions available: Decorate published by Murdoch Books for AU/NZ, Decorar BR, Alt om indretning DK, Inspirace pro váš byt CZ, Dekorácie SK, La décoration FR, Lust auf Wohnen DE, Sisusta tyylillä FI and Sztuka aranżacji wnętrz PL.

eCourses:

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