Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Downsizing isn’t just for retirees and empty nesters anymore. The renaissance of urban living has homeowners abandoning their large suburban homes and moving to smaller city condos and townhouses where square footage is at a premium. The new urbanites may be willing to give up some space, but they are not ready to sacrifice luxury. How can they satisfy their taste for the finer things in limited space? By incorporating elements of yacht design: optimum use of space, soothing color palettes, and accessorizing with opulence.

The first step in achieving a rich, inviting interior is treating the shell of the room. While you may not want to panel your walls in teak or mahogany, you can still create warmth with gold or cream paint. Yacht walls are often padded and upholstered for soundproofing, which could be priceless in an urban apartment! Flooring can be durable wood or a soft broadloom, but keep the color consistent with the walls to visually expand the space.

The next step is furnishing the unit. Yacht owners are discriminating clients who demand outstanding craftsmanship. What they lack in quantity, they make up for in quality. Furnishings are built-in and multi-functional to enhance the available living space. Seating areas include traditional sofas and chairs that convert to additional sleeping quarters. Banquets are tucked in every spare inch to provide extra seating and bonus storage. Platform beds include doors or drawers for storage while dressers and nightstands are scaled back and built into the wall to save on floor space. These units can be customized to fit exactly what you need to store.

The final stage is accessorizing, and that is the key to yacht luxury. Fabrics for upholstery, window treatments, and bedding are of the highest quality. Since large patterns would overwhelm the tight quarters, interest is created by the use of a variety of textures, subtle patterns, and beautiful trims. Window treatments are kept to a minimum to capitalize on the view and allow the natural light to flood in. Roman shades or woven wood blinds hide behind valances during the day and drop down for privacy at night. The generous use of mirrors is employed to both brighten the space by reflecting both natural and artificial light, and visually expand the space to appear larger than it actually is. Recessed lights and wall sconces illuminate with a touch of glitz and glamour and avoid using up valuable surface space. Decorative accessories are limited to statement pieces chosen to reflect the exceptional taste of the resident, and not to clutter the premium environment.

Your home does not have to be large to be luxurious. Incorporate these elements of yacht decorating to create a home with both form and function. Opulence is not in the square footage available, but in the attention to detail.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Choosing Paint Colors for Kitchens

When choosing a paint color for the kitchen, only pick colors that occur naturally in food. Psychologically, if your kitchen is painted a color that does not occur in food, turquoise for example, no matter how beautiful it looks, you just won't feel comfortable or at ease in the room. This kitchen is painted a beautiful red, perfect for those who love strawberries or apples or even tomatoes.

I always recommend choosing a darker shade of paint for the kitchen since there is so little walls space it will not overwhelm the room. It adds quite a bit of drama and flair against the large expanses of cabinets and countertops. Although this kitchen is full of food-themed accessories, you can also accessorize with items that feature your favorite "non-food" colors. Remember that the purpose of the kitchen is to prepare food, so make sure you don't over-accessorize and reduce the functionality of the room.

Monday, May 10, 2010

When the May issue of "The Design Diva Dishes" came out I hadn't gotten pictures yet from a kitchen re-do. I just had to share them with you here, as they reflect two of my mantras: 1. go bold with paint in the kitchen since there is so little wall space and 2. don't go matchy-matchy when selecting furniture.

In this kitchen you will see that the eating area has a table from one collection, 2 upholstered parsons chairs from another collection, 2 wood-backed chairs from third collection, and 2 fabric covered ottomans for the final set of seating. As you can see, it looks fresh, comfortable and inviting.