Posts Tagged 'home decor'

Dress up Your Lighting.

Lighting is such an hugely important and often overlooked part of design…at least for the do-it-yourselfer. Professional designers know and understand the importance of lighting. Not just the function, but the art of lighting.

There is at least one place in most homes that would benefit from a really outstanding light fixture. That said I thought I’d share with you some of the more spectacular chandeliers and pendants out there. These are all contenders in a “Best of 2009” competition, sponsored by Interior Design magazine. They all fall into the “statement piece” category, meaning  they move beyond function and becomes a focal point, a statement,  in the space they occupy. Think of them as a fantastic piece of jewelry for your home.

I hope you enjoy browsing and realize you don’t have to settle for ho-hum lighting.

FireFarmSunset1950_th

Sunset from Fire Farm Lighting


GlobalLightingDada_th

Dada from Globe Lighting


GraypantsScrapLights_th

Scrap Lights from Graypants, Inc.
made from salvaged corrugated cardboard


3formLightArt_th

Light Art from 3-Form
made from 40% pre-consumer, recycled material


BermanHeat_th

Heat from Joel Berman Glass Studios, Ltd.


ABYUCumulus_th

Cumulus from ABYU Lighting
made from turkey and coque  feathers and crystal teardrops


DstyleOrganics_th

Organics Chandelier from D’style


CooperShaperFabrique101P_th

Shaper Fabriqué Pendant from Cooper Lighting


BodnerOrbit_th

Orbit1 from Bodner Chandeliers
steel with eco-friendly bronze finish


BodnerVenus_th

Venus from Bodner Chandeliers
steel with eco-friendly bronze finish


StudioVetroChandelier_th

Cascading Series from Studio Vetro
hand-cast glass ribbons on a steel frame

Is Carpet Really the Best Choice for Your Floors?

A couple of weeks ago I was giving a presentation on eco-friendly finish materials for residential use – covering products from flooring (including carpet) to counter tops.  A point I always try to make is that these products aren’t just easier on the environment, but they are healthier for us as well. We’re not living with and breathing all of the chemicals and toxins that are present in many building materials.

detail_carpet_plush_3_2During the Q&A, I was asked “If you could make one change in an older home to make it healthier, what would it be?” Without even hesitating, I said replace the carpet. I hadn’t realized how strongly I felt about this until then. Carpet can be nasty, especially if it’s older. Now before I get the carpet lobby coming after me, let me qualify this…not ALL carpet is nasty. Fortunately most carpet manufacturers now offer natural fiber carpets made from hemp or wool. They don’t off-gas, they’re durable, stain-resistant and feel good. Yes they may be a bit more expensive than carpet made from nylon or polyester, but in my opinion, the benefits FAR outweigh the additional cost. If you want to read a good article on carpet off-gassing, take a look at this one.

Why am I so adamant about carpet in older homes? It’s not still releasing toxins is it? The truth is, we don’t know. If you ask the carpet companies they will tell you the off-gassing isn’t a problem at all ,ever. If you ask an environmentalist or many health providers they will say carpets off-gas for many years, long after the smell has dissipated. But off-gassing is only part of the picture. Carpets, especially those that have been around awhile, contain all sorts of other nasty things like dirt, dust mites and other toxins that have been tracked in by us and our pets. This is of even more concern if you have small children. They spend a lot of time close to the floor. Their exposure is much greater.

There are so many good beautiful and eco-friendly flooring options available, take a good look before just replacing carpet with carpet. If you really want or need carpet, choose one made of  wool or other natural fiber, you won’t be sorry. And your lungs will thank you.

Photo: Empire Today, LLC

Space Planning. Which comes first, the space or the furnishings?

floorPlans1bedA regular reader of this blog, recently asked if I would talk a bit about space planning. She and her husband are working with an architect on a remodel of their beach house. The question is…Does one plan a space around furniture or design the space and then determine the furniture placement?

The answer is neither and both. Let’s assume that the parameters of the remodel have been established, i.e. footprint of the house, budget, timeline, etc. The structure of the house really shouldn’t be driven by the contents. That’s a bit like the tail wagging the dog. You want to consider the function of the space, traffic flow and maximization of any available views, passive solar, etc. And of course you and your architect want to make sure that the space will accomodate your needs…how many beds, how many do you want seated at your dining table, or do you want/need separate living and family rooms? The physical space should allow for these functional considerations.

That said, you and your architect need to make sure that the the design will accommodate the obvious…a sofa, dining table etc. I know that seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen plans that don’t allow adequate space for the basics. Also if you have pieces that may need a specific type of space be sure to plan for them. Maybe you have an antique armoire or an art collection. Be sure to allow enough wall space to show these pieces off. Many open floor plans today have very little wall space, especially if you are lucky enough to have a view. Perhaps you have a large sectional sofa you really want to utilize in the media room. Will the room accommodate it and still allow for easy traffic flow? Once you and your architect have considered all of the options, you’ll know where you can compromise and where you need to redesign.

So JCM, have I answered your question? Feel free to contact me for more direction. Now what design challenges can I help YOU with?

Design News From Bend

31This Tuesday, July 14th, Bend’s Mill Quarter Design District will be hosting it’s first block party. From 4-8 there will be food, music, beverages and the opportunity to tour the now abundant design-related businesses in the district.

Furnish is there with it’s beautiful new 2-story location. Evergreen Plantscapes, Atlas and Haven Home have all relocated there as well. This district is becoming a very cool destination. Come down and support this vibrant neighborhood. What better way to spend one of our lovely, long summer evenings? Hope to see you all there.

On a more somber note Bend will soon be losing Luxe Home Interiors. They tried to hang on, but have had to make the very tough decision to close their doors. They are having a huge sale and there are some incredible deals, so get if you are in need of now furniture, now is the time. I believe they will still be taking special orders for a few more weeks. Mountain Comfort is also having a close-out sale. Word on the street is that they will reopen, but I haven’t been able to confirm that. Stay tuned.

3-Form Panels: High Design, Very Cool AND Easy on the Planet

p_v_346_539_2I have fallen head over heals for this product…chroma and resin panels from 3-Form. You’ve probably seen these products in used in architectural settings…hotels, commercial buildings, etc. If you’re local…in the form of the alabaster bar at Blacksmith in Bend. As stunning as they are in large-scale installations, they can also be used very effectively for residential applications.

So what makes these products so cool? First they look amazing and perform beautifully. The way they filter and almost “hold” light is ethereal. The color palettes and options are inspired, AND they are incredibly durable. If having fabulous design and versatility isn’t enough, the 3-Form products are manufactured with environmental accountability and sustainability at the forefront, many are made from 40% post-consumer waste and some utilize 100% post-consumer waste. Additionally, their “Full Circle” product line incorporates materials crafted by artisans from around the world in a fair-trade program…truly beautiful.

p_v_261_388_13-Form, the company, was formed with the vision of creating high-design materials with a commitment to environmental responsibility. Their “Path to Zero” program will stop sending manufacturing waste to landfill by the end of 2009 and allow the company to be carbon neutral by 2017. All of their products ship with instructions on returning the product to 3-Form at end-of-life for recycling, upcycling and re-purposing.

p_v_268_398_33-form products are available only to the trade, but your favorite interior designer will be more than happy to explore the options and access this amazing product line for you. I promise, you’ll love these versatile and unique materials.

Photos: 3-Form

YOLO Colorhouse releases 36 new “hopeful” colors

Fans of YOLO Colorhouse paint now have 36 additional colors to immerse themselves in. The new palette, Hope, is a collection of beautiful colors that are a bit lighter and brighter than the Earth collection we have all grown to love. The fabulous women of YOLO have provided me with a short video. Take a look and let me know what you think.

For those of you that may not know YOLO Colorhouse… a brief introduction…YC is the brainchild of Virginia Young and Janie Lowe…both artists. They had a custom paint and plaster finish company in Portland, Oregon. In 2000 they made a commitment to use products that would have a lower impact the their health, that of their clients and the environment. They began experimenting with old recipes for clay- and milk-based paints,  and low- and zero-VOC products. The result is YOLO Colorhouse, a premium, zero-VOC paint that contains no ammonia, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, or crystalline silica or any of the other toxins normally found in paint.

I can tell you from personal experience that the YOLO paints have great coverage (not the case with most low/zero-VOC paint), there is no detectable odor, they’re durable and the colors are gorgeous. The brilliant ladies of YOLO also developed poster-sized swatches to make it much easier to choose the right color. No more squinting at those tiny swathes in fan books. How cool is that?

I hope you’ll consider YOLO the next time you have a paint project. You won’t be sorry. YOLO Colorhouse is available locally at brilliant environmental building products, in downtown Bend.

Color Trends for 2009/2010

tren_avat_01_mEvery year color trends are announced…for fashion, for cars, for residential design. I’m always very curious about these. One, I wonder about the process of determining these trends and two I like to see how I’m doing, as a designer, in staying with or ahead of the trends.

Recently I attended a presentation on color for 2009/10 by one of the large paint manufacturers. The parent company of said paint manufacturer has a division that researches and determines color trends for everything from the fashion industry to airlines and car manufacturers to their very own paint. Without going into too much detail, they look at many cultural, political and social influences to determine what we will want in the coming years. It is probably no surprise that most trends, color and otherwise start on the runway. Yes, fashion designers lead the way. From the time designs are shown during Fashion Week, it is 6–12 months for those designs to hit the stores. It is then another 3–5 years for those trends to translate into residential design.

So where are we headed? In the post-911 period, were cocooning, we wanted colors that were soft, safe and comfortable. This was the time of pink and chocolate brown. 2 years ago were gong out more, feeling more confident and secure. Colors started getting brighter – lots of oranges, bright greens and yellows. Today we are anchoring, we feel insecure…the world around us is uncertain. We are watching romantic movies and spending our hard-earned dollars on small luxuries. So for the next couple of years our colors will be grounded in the earth and looking to the sky. We want to feel terra firma supporting us, yet we are looking forward, upward – toward the next phase.

How does all of this translate into our homes? Four basic trends emerge…

tren_wond_01_mEarth: we are grounding ourselves in the basics. In this case looking back to industry…basic machinery, standard materials and true craftsmanship. The palette is made up of patinaed browns, industrial blues and greens. They are sturdy and honest. And connecting with our life’s journeys – spiritual, cultural, philosophical. It is a blending of urban, tribal and mixed-cultural references – rich earthy tones that can stand alone or be accents against saturated browns and inky blacks.

Sky: we are exploring fantasy. There is a blend of contradictions – ornate/minimal, modern/vintage, classic/neo-classic. The palette is romantic and dreamy – warm pinks and violets anchored by rich browns. And stepping into the  virtual world…a cartoonish, fantastic version of reality. The colors are clean shades of green, yellow and blue stabilized by black and white.

Much of we are seeing in these “new” palettes isn’t new at all. We’ve seen these colors before. What is new is the interpretation and the way we use them  – the saturated greens and blues are being balanced with black and white. The soft romantic tones are grounded with rich browns. Each of us will interpret these trends in our own way. The particular shade of color with the chosen accents and furnishings.

As always, stay true to who you are and your own aesthetic. Trends are exactly that…trends. They are forever changing and morphing. Don’t get too caught up in having to have the latest.


Contact the Author

martha@mmdsf.com 541-330-5899 www.marthamurraydesign.com

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