Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pull Up A Chair

Centuries ago when they were first invented, chairs were not meant for everybody. Mere mortals and those who were unpedigreed had to sit on chests, benches, stools, on a rock, on the ground. The person with power reserved the privilege of sitting on the chair, as it was considered an article of state and dignity, rather than ordinary use. 

We've come a long way since then. Time has seen the chair evolve from thrones into virtual carved pieces, festooned with ornamentation, then into the utilitarian objects they are today. Various symbolical meanings have been heaped upon its feet through the centuries, and no other piece of furniture holds so much meaning, or perhaps so much potential for artistic interpretation.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

TV House Call

Name: Morgan Residence
Location: Miami, Florida
This is the home of Dexter and Rita Morgan in Miami, Florida, from the Showtime original series, "Dexter." Though the house is really located in Long Beach, CA, the palms, the flamingo pink and tropical touches throughout the home's interiors are decidedly from the Keys.

Most of the action in the Morgan house takes place in 
the great room, where a dining table is surrounded 
by pretty wicker chairs.  

Below, top to bottom:, Wingate Rattan Armchair, $299,

A magnet for trendsetters around the world, South Beach architecture is all about atmosphere and light. Time is turned off, and you're not supposed to know if something is old or new. Storybook architectural styles have long thrived in Miami, and Aegean, Mediterranean or even Caribbean influences abound.

Cool Tile
The most noticeable feature in the kitchen is the tile. Theirs is white with a dark trim, but these ceramic art tiles from Ann Sacks fit the bill. Turkish in pedigree and azure in scheme, the Iznic tile collection will be right at home in Miami. 

Right and below: Iznic collection,

Subtle Touches
A mixture of Moorish, Mediterranean and marine.

Above, top to bottom, left to right: Cordon collection, $25-70, Resin swordfish, $120, Fresco 18" pillow, $40, Sealife tray, $15,, Veranda round chandelier, $349, Mosaic Hundi lantern, $349,

Ocean blues, and shades of terracotta and coral .

Top to bottom: Twilight Blue, Coral and 
Florida Keys Blue,

Monday, May 24, 2010

House Calls


Name: Tumangan Residence
Location: Manila Philippines
Architecture & Design: Santos and Partners Inc.

Taking cues from the owner's wardrobe and tastes, the black and white interiors of this Manila home fulfills the homeowner's flair for drama and sophistication. An out of the ordinary yet classy demeanor is achieved by the somewhat whimsical juxtaposition of the classical forms of Baroque furniture and a modern all black and white color scheme. Most everything is kept shiny and reflective, from the cool granite floors to the patent leather on the chairs, to keep things from being too heavy and gothic.

A Nod to Mod

Name: Carlos House
Location: Manila, Philippines
Architecture & Design: Santos and Partners Inc.

Light is in abundance in this home, as are clean lines and minimalist modern touches that start from the outside in.

Seeing A Pattern

Patterns are incredibly tricky. How to distinguish a more expensive printed dress from a cheaper, mass-produced variety? Check the seams. Cheaply-made printed clothes will most likely have seams where the prints don't line up. On the other hand, a well-made garment is 'seamless' in that all the patterns line up, much like hanging wallpaper. 

Patterns immediately date the item it is on, as well as say something about the place it's from. Patterns can make a chair or piece of drapery look incredible dated and old, retro-chic or sophisticated. Unlike solids, they are more visually involving, meaning we may get tired of looking at it more easily. It creates movement on the object it is on, and can make it appear smaller or larger. The right patterns can take a space from bland and boring to one with more personality, dynamics and interest.

Here's a primer:

Checks range from tiny squares that almost read as a solid color to buffalo-check sizes for a bold statement. Checked fabrics are great complements to printed fabrics and floral fabrics and are a natural for American, English or French country dec√≥r. 

Used sparingly, checks provide a ground for florals. Tie everything together with a solid color.

Floral fabrics for home decorating include designs from small blossoms to large bouquets, from cottage looks to contemporary silhouettes. 

Florals can be overwhelming. Avoid an overly feminine look by sticking to stylized versions (top left) and use sparingly. Pick an item to cover, such as a chair, a pair of drapes, or a pillow, and ground everything with coordinating solids.

Striped designer fabrics range from tiny pinstripes to 6-inch stripes, from casual cottons perfect for slipcovers to dressy regency stripes that would complement a beautiful chair frame. Some stripe fabrics are fun to use horizontally, for a rugby-shirt effect on furniture or to create a distinctive look on a window drapery. Striped fabrics add personality!

Horizontally placed stripes are ultra-modern and can instantly give an otherwise traditional furniture a modern edge. 
Paisley patterns in fabrics create handsome effects when paired with plaid fabrics, floral print fabrics, or even animal print fabrics. In muted colors, paisleys can appear classic and suited for menswear looks; in brighter colors and smaller scale, they can take on country French airs.
Geometric fabric designs range from graphic patterns with high impact to small-scale chair patterns. They may be bold enough to stand alone or used to complement a strong print.

The juxtaposition of a graphic pattern fabric upholstered on a classic furniture frame adds a refreshing twist that is very modern and chic.

Animal prints
Animal prints are playful and quite frankly, never goes out of style in a kitschy kind of way. Try to select color ways that are more multi-tonal as shown here, to avoid getting an "I just skinned this from a kill" kind of look.

Animal prints can  be used in 
both modern and traditional