Shower or Tub???

OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those preferences. For resale, we always make sure, even if the client is a professed shower lover, that there is also a tub or at least one in a secondary bath for children. More often there will be at least a tub/shower combo in one secondary bathroom, and perhaps the others can have showers – whatever the owner prefers, but with resale in mind.

I was one of those who hated the bathtub. I rebelled against the old jet tubs because they would not completely drain out all of the water and would leave about a cup of nasty water retained in the lines. When the air jets came out they were nice and clean, not holding the dirty water, but they were sort of fluffy, without the massaging action. On the plus side, you could use more bath products in those tubs than you could in the jet tubs. Then the popularity of the freestanding tub, and soaking tub, became the rage, and really still is. They are pretty to look at, and photograph, but dangerous for many to enter, and therefore essentially just for looks.

So, why do so many people dislike tubs and prefer showers?

The main reason, I think, is because we feel they are faster, and with our hurried lifestyles, we think we don’t have time for a leisurely soak. Honestly, when I think about it, I take just as long for a shower because the hot water is relaxing and I don’t want to get out. It makes me feel better and sleep better. Supposedly it’s a fact that the raised body temperature from a hot shower or bath lets your body do its normal cooling that happens after you go to bed and it is good to have that warm experience before sleep. I think another reason some of us don’t like the tub as much is also because the water gets cold and you have to constantly adjust it by adding more hot water. If you have to be monitoring and working to keep the temperature, that is not fun or relaxing. 

Photo: Aquatica

But wait! The reason I am changing my thoughts about tub bathing is the new technology – hydrothermal therapy! It will keep your water hot so you can relax. Also, the new jets, like the Shiatsu massage for your back, and even a wrist jet (for too many hours on the computer), make your time in the tub worthwhile since you also get the added benefits of a massage. Plus, the dirty water retention problem has been corrected by redirecting the angle of the jets. You can also use all kinds of bath products in it, even oils. Wait until you hear about the indulge therapy that oxygenates your skin with a microbubbles system, cleaning it without soap! Supposedly it increases collagen, so BRING IT ON!

I recognize we have been doing body sprays in showers for a good while and they do a type of massage, but it seems fewer clients want those, and instead prefer a good spray head, sometimes also a rain head, and a handheld. The beauty of these has been that they are thermal controlled and maintain the temperature. It might be nice to have all of that and more, and be able to sit and relax in a tub, with added relaxation techniques. If you are still a lover of the freestanding tub, without the jets, just for soaking and relaxing, you can have it with the hydrothermal addition to enjoy a soak that stays warm.

Now all I need is a place to put it in!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

The End of Harvey

This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.

Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We expect to close on the sale of our property at the end of this month and move on. I loved our property that we are now selling to another family with children to enjoy very much, and I am grateful for the time it was ours. I planted so much on that acre in Memorial for many years.

When I was at our deserted house recently, finishing clearing out some items stored upstairs and in the mucked out garage, I discovered my Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow shrub, happily blooming, even after being underwater for more than a week! Of course, the botanical name is Brunfelsia Pauciflora, but that’s not as meaningful or memorable to me.

There was something symbolic about this plant showing all its colors of blooms that occur yesterday, today and tomorrow, as they change colors with each day; hence the name.  My yesterdays of forty years were pretty wonderful with our children and grandchildren growing up there playing on the creek and property, and enjoying life in the city with a taste of the country.  Also had a peacock come strolling through while I was there to remind me of all the wildlife we experienced, and there are many more stories about that!

I imagined the today to be the current situation of Harvey, but dragged out for a year and a half, after destroying the collectibles, treasures, and accumulation of all of those years. I know there are many others still trying to decide what to do or even still trying to get settled back into their homes. We still see evidence all around the city with some vacant, scraped lots, some still sitting homes, and many under construction, but elevated.

Finally, tomorrow is what is to come as we close this chapter. Many people were affected not only physically, but also psychologically, and I know that is hard. I prefer to imagine the future as full of hope, surprises and possibly new adventures; although if I am honest, there are moments when that is rather difficult. Thanks to friends and family, those times are fewer and fewer, and I am optimistic about a great future!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

Furniture In Motion

 

 

Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the motion capacity currently, that statistic shouldn’t really come as much of a shock.

Swivel vs. Recliners

Most of the inquiries we get now, here at Design House, for comfortable lounge chairs, have the added request that they be swivel, swivel/glide, and sometimes recline as well. The swivel chair is extremely important and useful to allow you to turn to the TV, conversation, or view. In the past, I considered that the worst piece of furniture was the dreaded recliner, but today you don’t have to have that heavy, bulky, bustle back recliner. Now they can look like a regular chair, be upholstered in a beautiful fabric or nice leather, and be customized as you prefer. You can select the size, arm, leg, etc, and they are much more high style and slender in profile; plus, the motion is greatly improved. Sometimes the old, bulky ones were really hard to “kick back” in, especially for the more petite person or the elderly. Today, there are a variety of electronic controls and battery operated when there is no way to plug it in. Additionally, you can have them swivel and glide like the popular lounge chair request. One word of caution though, if the chair is for someone older, or someone a little unstable for some reason, the glide might be a challenge for them having the movement possible as they sit. Recliners can be good not only for relaxing purposes, but also as the perfect solution for someone recuperating just after surgery. 

Black Recliner (Closed)
Black Recliner (Open)

Motion in Bedrooms

Bedrooms are another place where motion furniture is really growing with the adjustable beds becoming so popular. Again, this can be a health benefit for someone with a gastric problem or recuperating with the need to be elevated. There are many ways of hiding a bed that pulls out of a cabinet, or a wall, or even lifts into a dropped ceiling. Now, there are also movable closets that will close up when not needed, but become a walk-in closet when opened. 

Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Open)
Black Recliner (Closed)
Black Recliner (Open)

Moving Work Stations

In the office, motion furniture has always been used for the desk chair, but now many people prefer the stand/sit desk that is so highly touted as better for your health, allowing you to continue working standing or sitting. The adjustable height can also be incorporated into work stations where even the stations themselves and files may be portable and movable. Work tables may not only adjust in height, but also tilt and be a white board for meeting presentations.

Look for many more options to come in furniture movement, with the addition of voice activation, as the industry works to make pieces adjust to different demands, locations, and smaller spaces!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

 

What Will 2019 Bring to Interior Design?

Can you believe it is 2019 already? 

I hope you enjoyed the holidays and family, but now that you have taken down the holiday decorations, is your home looking a little tired and needy? We all look for that fresh start for the New Year and make our resolutions, typically about how we can improve ourselves, but let’s think about the environment that you spend so much time in and how it can affect your happiness and health! Below are some predictions for what’s coming design wise in 2019.

Color

Of course the Colors of the Year have been revealed, which you may have already seen, and those are always interesting, but please make the space you live in yours and not dictated by these predictions, unless you absolutely love them and they suit your environment. A home should reflect who you are and how you live, so surely it has to be personalized. Of interest though, are Pantone’s Living Coral- with the warmth of nature, Benjamin Moore’s Metropolitan- a calming gray, Sherwin Williams’ Cavern Clay- another color of nature, and Behr’s Blueprint- a mid-tone blue. These are some of the most well-known sources, but many other manufacturers are coming up with their own Color of the Year. As for the most immediate facelift of your home, nothing can beat paint! Remember, for an allergy free experience, look at the zero VOC paints.

For furnishings, you can expect to see a neutral palette that is not as gray as the long standing previous trend, but more toward light sand, or warmer gray, and even tinted pastels. Also popping up are the bold colors, from ethnic to neon, much like the fashion industry. Black and white, with its combination creating both balance and boldness, will continue to be a good pairing. It is reported that there are more charcoal or versions-of-black kitchens being ordered now as well.

Pantone – Living Color

Sherwin Williams – Cavern Clay

Benjamin Moore – Metropolitan

Behr – Blueprint

Texture

People are loving the feel and warmth, emotionally and physically, of textures in their environments, from floor carpets, to the seating, bedding and soft throws. Velvets continue to be strong, especially now that technology has made them more practical, with great abrasion resistance and cleanability. They now can be used in luxurious and elegant settings when they are made with a silk or linen fiber. Many new performance fabric versions are family friendly and thus suitable for areas with heavier use, perhaps among children and pets.

Thibaut Pasadena Chair

Layered Look

Patterns

You may be surprised, and may not agree, but florals, botanicals and chintz are back! They are being layered with different patterns in rooms, much as fashion is doing with clothing. This can move more toward the maximalism trend with lots of different mismatched fabrics.  Also watch for the shell and scallop shapes which will be seen in furniture, accessories and wallcovering.  And don’t forget about wallcovering for a dramic addition to your home, on the walls, the ceiling, as a furniture finish, or even risers on steps, of course with protective coating.

Thibaut – Sunburst Wallpaper

Wallquest – The Woodlands Collection Wallpaper

Mixed Metals

The use of mixed metals, that has become so popular, continues, but gold, copper, matte brass and black will dominate the new scene. Pewter and gunmetal may be a little softer look.   Imagine the charcoal cabinets with the brass and copper as fixtures and a sink – definitely a dramatic look! Of course, the mixed metals are to be found in abundance in lighting and accessories, but they can even be found on a complete console and lots of chairs and furniture accents.

Currey and Company

Technology

Technology is affecting all of our products and the way we use our spaces. The connected home is now so much more available and inexpensive. We have had integrated systems that allow you to control the window coverings, fireplace, lighting, entertainment, etc. for a while (and some are very elaborate in what all they can do) but now, even something as affordable as Amazon Echo and Google Home (which are rapidly adding to their commands) are more reasonably accessible and can be taken with you when you move. In 2016, there were 80 million smart home devices purchased and it is predicted that the number will reach more than 53 billion by 2022.  Voice interaction will take over for all those remotes.

Kitchens and bathrooms are areas with many exciting new options to simplify your life, and the controls are becoming more intuitive and easy to use. There are innovative 3D faucets that make you wonder how the water got there with all the openings! Look for the volcanic lava stone and great concrete tiles that have been developed for the kitchen and bath. There are way too many to write about here, so get with your designer before you start remodeling or building those new spaces!

More new designs of architectural robotics furniture pieces will become available, like the Cloud Bed, that can be raised and lowered from an integrated dropped ceiling.  When raised, there is a sofa and coffee table underneath that becomes your study or living area. The sofa’s back is the bed’s headboard and the coffee table supports the bed’s frame. Also, check out the pocket closet which doubles your storage space in tiny areas.  When I was recently in Spain, a manufacturer showed us the prototype chair for offices that will tell you when you are slouching, including anything that might be detrimental, and when it is time for you to get up and move, or elevate your sit/stand desk.

Sofa and Coffee Table Set Up

Down as Bed

Sustainability

Sustainable products will grow more in what is now available and the demand for them.  Perhaps it is just up-cycling an old piece of furniture or accessory with a coat of bright paint, to make a real standout, fun, accent piece, or making more conscious decisions about where the product comes from, and whether it can be recycled. You can look for vegan furniture, also.  How about a corrugated cardboard bed made by Happy Beds?

Image by In My Own Style

Image by In My Own Style

Vegan Bed

Miscellaneous

I would add that I think we will see more curved furniture and vintage and artisan pieces.  Also, there seems to be more requests for a little more traditional, or “brown” furniture to mix in, but then, at Design House, we always strive to have a variety of curated selections from various periods and origins on our floor, and certainly available for sourcing and order.  Additionally, we have numerous lines we can help the customer create their own custom pieces with. So, let’s all get busy giving our interiors a fresh start, as well as ourselves!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

2018 Holiday Tabletops – A Texas Christmas and Baccarat’s Table

 

Design House was so honored to host Baccarat, the renowned French manufacturer of fine crystal, with their own tabletop this year, which also revealed their fall collection. The President, Jim Shreve, was present to talk with everyone about the glamorous silver and crystal table. His goal is for people to use it every day and not just put it on display. To make that task easier, he explained how you can put the crystal in the dishwasher. The secret is to not let the pieces touch because this can cause chipping.  Shreve also advised using a dishwashing detergent that does not have any citrus added since this causes etching.

Among the oh-so-many beautiful pieces they introduced was a greyhound dog and a cat. These approximately two feet tall items looked almost like ice sculptures. Another interesting item was the acrylic plateau box used to elevate the dog and a huge vase. The interior of the box was filled with broken Baccarat pieces from the Baccarat Hotel in New York. These pieces were discovered in storage bins in the back of the hotel. I guess they just couldn’t put the broken pieces in the dumpster! Thankfully they kept them to be repurposed and recycled into beautiful plateaus.

The Design House 2018 Holiday Tabletop

Most people, when doing their tabletops, will probably do as we have to do in our showroom – use what you have to begin with. We used what table and chairs we had in stock, and combined the best suited lighting we had to start. This year with our theme, we ordered some fabric with a magnolia design to make slipcovers for some existing host and hostess chairs from our LeFevre collection. The most appropriate table we had was long, but not really wide, so the centerpiece needed to be narrow, but dramatic. The first thought we had was to use an antique trough that was carved out of a tree trunk to hold a lush display of florals down the center of the table. Well, this perfect trough was too long, and we couldn’t find another trough narrow enough to use, so we used a gutter with end caps, made to size. You could say our showroom went from Baccarat to the gutter! The gutter was filled with oasis floral foam and covered with moss to hold the maximum amount of florals. Then, we were off to the cooler to see what florals were available, along with another trip to prune some magnolia trees!

 

We hung lots of fresh mixed garland on the chandelier and mantle to pop the green magnolia leaves in the fabric. Of course, we had to add a few magnolia leaves, berries and pomegranates, along with the galvanized and painted deer walking out of the landscape painting above it. For the centerpiece (the gutter), we used red roses, white ranunculus, dusty miller, thistle, camellia foliage and ilex berries. The berries on the fireplace were toyon berries.

The place settings were anchored by the galvanized metal chargers, and layered with Green Ivy ceramic dinner plates, which were topped with the vintage white Limoges small plates. The Haussmann trunk flatware seemed the perfect complement with the branch design and the antique Green Thumbprint stemware picked up on the green plates.  We also added some handcrafted Italian pewter and glass stemware for the mix, and finally, the napkins were custom made with Ralph Lauren plaid from Fabric House.

We hope you visited the 2018 Holiday Tabletops, but if you were unable to make it, we hope you enjoy our posts and plan to make it out next year!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

Ten Award Winning Holiday Tablescapes

The holidays are stressful enough with finding the perfect gifts, decorating the house and cooking for a crowd, but when you add all of the fabulous Pinterest and Instagram posts, it is enough to make anyone feel inadequate. Well, we are here to show you our past ten years of award winning holiday tablescapes, that includes Best of Show, Best Floral, Best Theme, and People’s Choice; and give you tips on how you can create this kind of look in your home.

1) 2008 Design House Deck the Table

For the first year of holiday table tops in our showroom, we started small and easy enough for anyone to do. As throughout the ten years of doing Christmas tables, we start with what is currently in the showroom, just as you might in your home. Mixed silver goblets, wine glasses, china and flatware from home made contributions to this first table. Natural greens, along with limes and floral arrangements made this a fragrant, comfortable and easy set up.

2) 2009 Design House Deck the Table

2009 Design House Deck the Table

We added a touch of elegance to the room with fresh evergreens on the table, chandelier, and potted paper whites. The aroma alone will capture your guests’ attention and provide them with holiday spirit. Note that when you are working with fresh greenery or florals, you can add some artificial pieces and somehow the fresh ones make them work! We added the artificial magnolia here. Sometimes we will start with a base of artificial garland and add fresh greens, berries, or whatever you have.

3) 2010 Design House Deck the Table

Go bold! Don’t be afraid to add an element of surprise to a room. For this table setting we had just discovered some vintage metal Chippendale chairs in a warehouse and bought them for Design House. That was our start. There is always something we discover or have in our showroom that gives us the inspiration. We contrasted the metal chairs and silver in the settings with the custom branch chandelier and rustic wood table. This rustic branches balance the elegant table settings here to keep the environment casual and lively.

4) 2011 Design House Deck the Table

2011 Design House Deck the Table

Your holiday table does not always need to be the total focus of attention. For example, the mirror in this space compliments the table and draws the eyes across the space to the far wall. The evergreens that flank the buffet add balance to the wall and an accent color, which is mimicked on the reclaimed wood table bringing the eye back to the center of the room and straight to these vintage lantern chandeliers from a French residence in Egypt. The lantern theme was continued on the tabletop, and vintage Christmas plates were used that year. The only chairs we had available needed a little help for Christmas, so we made some simple, short and sassy slipcovers.

5) 2012 Deign House Deck the Table

2012 Deign House Deck the Table

This table gives the room a casual elegance by using a simple color scheme of white and green. These earthy holiday colors and materials give a natural look to your tabletop. The crisp white napkins and dinner plates soften the zinc table while the glass angels on each place setting are part of the angel theme, with the white cast angels, by a local artist, on the buffet. The angels also add to the artisan feel of the space when combined with the zinc tabletop. All of this is topped and really made more dramatic with the glitzy vintage crystal chandelier. The eclectic and wide range of pieces mixed together help to create holiday glam and a festive setting for a simple, rustic table.

6) 2013 Design House Deck the Tables

2013 Design House Deck the Tables

We had a little fun with this one by opening the metal doors to our storeroom, filling in the space with some old doors from our showroom and lighting some branches behind the doors like lit outdoor trees. Here we used vintage Limoges china and Christofle Malmaison flatware with a luxurious Niermann Weeks chandelier topped with a ceiling of branches above to add a touch of whimsy. By placing some fresh fruit, herbs and greens around the table and chandelier you create a faint aroma that compliments the meal and is pleasing to the eye.

7) 2014 Design House Deck the Tables

2014 Design House Deck the Tables

The location of this year’s table in front of the animal print wallpaper made it easy to create a festive spirit. Simple floating stars in this “Starry Night” theme had lights directed toward them to sparkle. The three panel antique mirrors and wreaths with lights make the room feel larger and continue to reflect the sparkle of the stars and mercury glass. By adding custom name cards under glass domes your guest will feel extra special. These continued the “star” theme and a little whimsy with names of famous movie stars on them for our event.

8) 2015 Design House Deck the Table

2015 Design House Deck the Table

Let your furniture dictate your tablescape. This live edge table with a stainless steel branch base just screamed organic design for the décor. That was achieved with lots of greenery to compliment the wood table top, while the chairs pick up on the metal base, along with the silver goblets and flatware that was silver and wood. The greenery on the table was also frosted, adding to the winter wonderland feel.

9) 2016 Design House Deck the Tables

2016 Design House Deck the Tables

This woodlands theme began with the deer we had just received and also the chairs with the goatskin seats and natural wood. The forest is not only depicted by them, but also the “stream” that runs down the middle of the table. This was done with a fabulous Waterford linear piece that allowed us to lay florals and greening flowing out of it and down the table. This stream continued down the ends of the table to the floor. Pomegranates and oranges were used throughout the greenery to compliment the beautiful Limoges china.

10) 2017 Design House Deck the Table

2017 Design House Deck the Table

I bet you can guess that the fabulous chandelier we had just received was the start of this table. This icy, crystal winter wonderland was accented with the acrylic chairs and they allowed us to show the hide rug anchoring the setting. We did make them a little warmer with the addition of small wreaths we made from the greenery used on the table. Additional warmth was suggested with the inclusion of many candles featured on slices of wood, and what great improvement with the fake candles! People would have to touch them to make sure they were not real. The new green and white Limoges china was the perfect complement to the setting.

We hope these examples will encourage you to take a closer look around your spaces, get those creative juices flowing, and use what you have as a start. Be sure to stop by Design House in The Houston Design Center during the first week of December to see what we’ve come up with this year! We are excited to announce that Baccarat will be creating a table in our showroom this year, and we can’t wait for everyone to have a chance to see their wonderful selections!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

Interior Design Inspiration from Valencia

The invitation to visit Spain for a week to meet with manufacturers and learn about new products proved to be rewarding in many ways! Not only did we get to meet with a wide variety of vendors, as you will see from the photos, and be introduced to a new part of Spain, but I also learned more about the culture and met so many great people. They were very kind to someone who hasn’t practiced what little Spanish was learned back in the dark ages in school. The one thing I did find hard was the schedule they keep with the restaurants open for lunch only from 1:30 to 4:00, and not open for dinner until 8:30, thus eating at 9:00 or 10:00 for dinner is common. However, one plus was the inexpensive cost of wine, which accompanies those meals.

Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe

Valencia is a major manufacturing area of Spain, and also the largest grower of orange trees.  It is also a beautiful city with fabulous architecture and lots of history.  There are many new exciting buildings in their cultural area, you will see everything from Romanesque to Modernist facades. Houston should take note that after Valencia flooded in the late 1950s, they did a really smart thing by diverting the Turia River, which divided the city; the old riverbed is now a beautiful, very well used and most enjoyed park area for residents and visitors.

Furniture Designs

Office Furniture

Office Guest Chair
Office Lounge Chairs
Modular Seating

Indoor/Outdoor Furniture

Festive and Fun Indoor Outdoor
Be the Star in the pool or out
Lounge in comfort in or out of the pool

Lighting

Whimsical Fairy Chandelier
Elegantly Classic Chandelier
Modern LED Lighting

Bathroom Fixtures

bathroom sink
bathroom fixture

The products we saw included lighting and furniture in varying styles for both residential and commercial by many talented artisans with the ability to customize. We will be featuring them, and the city of Valencia, in the photos we want to share with you; so please let us hear back with your thoughts and what you would like to see at our Design House showroom!

Hasta luego,
Connie

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

The End of Harvey This blog post is a follow-up to The YEAR of Harvey.Many of you have been so kind as to inquire about how and what we’ve been doing since Harvey. Thus, I feel the need to write the end of the Harvey story, even though I rarely post personally. We...

read more

Furniture in Motion

Furniture In Motion    Would you believe that over half of the furniture being produced today is equipped with motion capabilities? Even though I see so many options, I still find that surprising. However, when you think about how many items do have the...

read more

High Point Market (Fall 2018): Trends Continued

The climate of our society today and our hectic lives, along with increasing technology, makes us yearn for simpler times and quiet comfort.  However, we still take advantage of technology that offers us products to make our lives easier and more comfortable.  As we often bring back previous designs with a cleaner look and more appropriate scale, we also, in wishing for those more simple times, appreciate the modern conveniences that make our days more comfortable.

We anxiously wait for what’s new and next, so here’s my take on what I saw and want to share from this fall’s High Point Market.

The warm metallic colors continued, along with minerals, used as accessories, art, lighting and furniture.  Stone and concrete were also abundant, both indoors and outdoors, on furniture and accessories, and mixed with both metals and wood.

Texture was also evident in the many uses of rope and woven accessories and furniture.  You will see examples of ottomans, chairs, accent usage with other materials on furniture, light fixtures and even planters that look like rope, but were concrete.

There was a strong use of black, mixed with white or natural, and also gold tones.  This could be seen as accents in all phases of production.  There were pops of reds, greens, and of course lots of blues in varying shades, with probably the most dominant blue being in the cobalt range.

An interesting technique used on some furniture pieces was pleating around the backs of upholstered chairs or sofas, and even on wood pieces. Of course, various forms of tufting were still popular. There were various examples of curved pieces, perhaps for enveloping comfort or drama.

Watch for the resurgence of natural wood, more motion furniture and design solutions shaped by technology.

For all of you Texan fans, we saw an abundant array of equestrian art. Styles ranged from realistic photography to abstract art. In interior design we continue to celebrate the past alongside the modern convenience of technology and comfort. We look forward to what lies ahead in design and the new styles that we will see at the next market.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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High Point (Fall 2018)

It was an interesting and crazy start to High Point market this time, complicated by Hurricane Michael’s remnants.

Connie heading off to High Point Market from the Design House showroom!

Not the smoothest drive this year thanks to the hurricane.

Since I always go early to market for specials, one-of-a-kinds and meetings, I was there three days before market officially opened. I found myself in tents and warehouses with pouring rain and blowing winds, but gotta find those treasures! The worst part was actually the day before market when most of the triad area lost power. Hotels were down and so were most places to eat. I found out that if I crossed over a certain highway, there was power, so I found a diner open – but so did many others!

They got the power restored first in the market showrooms and hotels, but people renting houses were without it for varying times. Many people had no power until Tuesday evening and market was over on Wednesday. I saw many people in the restrooms at market with curling irons and other items we are dependent on. Now I’m back, dried out, safe and sound, and ready to report on sightings, discoveries and trends.  I really don’t like that word: “trends”, and always suggest to people that they “trend lightly”, but here we go.

I have to qualify this report. It is impossible to cover all of the showrooms in a week, since there are more than 2,000 exhibitors spread over thirteen city blocks, which totals approximately 10 million sqft. Packing comfortable shoes is a priority!

 

A Focus on ‘Trendspotting’

One of the articles in a High Point publication entitled “Trendspotting, High Point”, listed industrial inclinations, earthy inspirations and retro aspirations, elevated with tonal textures, luminous layering and expressive style.

We will break these trends down in a series focusing on the styles and themes that emerged from this fall market, along with plenty of photos and examples that you can adapt to your home right away.  Items from market are arriving daily, so follow us on Facebook and Instagram to be the first to see these exciting new trends.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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The End of Harvey

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Closet Lighting – How To Be Best Dressed!

Do you get dressed before daylight to get to work on time? Does it look like something goes together until you get to work or an event and realize, to your embarrassment, that they don’t? Even in daylight hours, closets rarely have natural light, so it’s important to have the right lighting.

Lighting Technology Made Easy

Lighting technology is amazing today, but can be confusing, so let’s simplify! You need a cool color and a warm color temperature for lights in closets. Well, that simplifies it! Color temperature is a way that the industry describes the appearance of light. It is measured by Kelvin (K) on a scale of 1,000 to 10,000, with warmer color in the lower range and cooler light in the higher range.  A light source which is closer in color temperature to daylight is going to be in the 4000K-5000K range (often used in offices, but not really kind to us) like daylight. If you are going out at night or into an indoor event you will more likely be in warmer lighting, which would be more like 2200-2700K, sometimes even 3000K. You really need to watch the CRI listing because you want 90 or higher to get the ideal color quality.

The Latest in Closet Lighting

The great new product on the market now is a linear LED mounted above the hanging rods which lets you adjust the color temperature from 2200K to 5000K. If your budget doesn’t allow for this, put a 4000K linear bulb above the clothing with some 2700K incandescent bulbs or an LED light on the ceiling; just keep them on separate switches.  With triangular trim, you can mount the linear lighting along the front edge of the shelf, throwing the light toward the back at a 45 degree angle.  Also, there are now some hanging rods available with the LED built into them!  However, if you only have one lighting source, go for the 3000K instead.

With all of the lighting options currently on the market, in addition to constantly evolving technology, it can be hard to keep up with the best solutions for your given situation. Interior designers can help you make the most of your closet, for appearance and functional purposes alike. Reach out to one now for guidance on taking your closet to the next level.

Lighting Designed for a Walk-In Closet
Piece of Clothing on a Hanger in a Closet with Amazing Lighting

Other posts you may also be interested in:

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The YEAR of Harvey

It’s a year after Hurricane Harvey and I am still a nomad after forty years in our home, which we had remodeled.  First, we spent a month in a hotel room; then we were lucky enough to find an apartment with a six month lease, though unfortunately right between two freeways!  Finally, we found a high rise in a quieter area on the eighteenth floor. We made the big move, with a year’s lease to determine what to do with our house and property.  We felt that at least we could take a breather, feel more settled, make better decisions, and enjoy our retreat in the sky with no flooding.

Well, we are now in our fourth week of living with seventeen fans and dehumidifiers “which sound like  in our apartment that sound like a jet engine” in our apartment.  We have concrete floors in part of the apartment with carpet removed and they are now tearing out the wood floors and some sheetrock.  Oh yes, the master toilet and head knocker have been removed from the master bedroom and the range, refrigerator and dishwasher from the kitchen – all draped in plastic.

How could this happen?  The new building had a boiler pipe burst above the top floor about 1:30 AM to the tune of approximately 300 gallons per minute.  Fortunately, the people in the apartment just below it were traveling and not home.  But the water took the path of least resistance and caused damage as low as the eleventh floor before disconnected.  They have been working diligently on this, but seeing all the trucks, trash and dumpsters outside along with the workers’ staging area, is just a little hard to handle on the anniversary of Harvey.

I have been asked for photos of projects that have been restored in which the people are back in their newly remodeled homes to publicize.  Honestly, there are very few who are back in and restored.  Some are getting closer to move in, but many homes are still sitting there, or have been demolished and the property is sitting there.  Some of the homes that have been remodeled, and are back on the market, have been done by investors buying them at undervalued prices after the flood, repairing, and sometimes very cheaply, to make the largest profit.

Houston being the fourth largest city with so many areas affected by Harvey, the solutions are varied and complicated; and we as designers have a responsibility to learn about these solutions all around the city and the new building restrictions, so that we continue to add value to our clients’ projects.  But we can go more into those changes next time!

To read more about how Connie and so many other Houstonians have fared in the following year please read this article recently published by Diane Cowen of the Houston Chronicle: 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/home/design/article/Post-hurricane-homeowners-cope-with-decisions-13180786.php

Read the follow-up to this post, The End of Harvey.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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For Those Who Said Gray Was On the Way Out

Check out Pantone’s “In Praise of Gray!”  They say heading into autumn/winter 2019/20, they see grays as a key color for cars, paint, home textiles and interiors.  From the cool tones to the warm, light to more intense dark shades, gray is a color for a lot of solutions.

You can make a space warmer or cooler depending on its location, setting, surrounding surfaces, and the style of the structure in which you are creating the environment, because there are so many blends.  Then you can go as monotone as the situation and client want, making use of different textures, or add an almost endless array of accent colors, whether pastel or primary.

To me, gray is the “ground” of our colors from nature.  The Pantone Rainy Day, Quiet Gray, Silver Filigree and Excalibur are a sophisticated base to build on with endless accents.  Check them out below!

There are many items on our showroom floor at Design House that we can special order that will bring some GRAY into your home! See below a small sampling.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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New Innovative and Exciting Ways to Use Wallpaper

If you haven’t taken time to peruse today’s wallpapers, you are missing an opportunity to get the “creative juices” flowing! It is really a treat to see what is out there today and what you can do with it.

There are explosions of giant flowers for instant drama and whimsy, to much more tame but exciting grasscloths with texture and woven metallics. You can create so much interest in art for the ceiling with various wallcoverings, and even contrast them with a different wallcovering for the walls. Or you could do an accent wall or walls behind bookshelves. Paper over the doors or cabinets in a poweder room to make them disappear. Wrapping furniture in wallpaper can totally transform it into a piece of art and a much more outstanding point of interest. And what about wallpaper on stair risers? A new idea I recently heard of someone doing, and why not? You can apply a protective coat on it as you would on the piece of furniture covered in wallpaper.

One other use I am dying to use is one of the LED wallpapers that looks like a huge room height chandelier that would have the LED lights imbedded in it. Imagine at the end of a hallway – how unexpected and fun! You may want to take some time to explore the wallcovering room at Fabric House. It can be inspirational!

You may want to take some time to explore the wallcovering room at Fabric House. It can be inspirational!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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Nautical Themed Decor for Summertime

 

Nothing makes a home feel “beachy” like furnishings that have a nautical touch. Stripes, knots, and seashells can make you taste that salty sea air, whether you’re decorating a beach house or a bedroom miles away from the nearest beach.

The Design House Showroom has those special items that can give any space a nautical flair:

Nautical Decor Item 1

Coral Sea Fan on Glass

Nautical Decor Pillows

Linen and cotton pillows in Sea Catalina Blue, Mediterranean Serafina Navy

Nautical Decor Model Ship made from Wood

Santa Maria Caravella with stone base 31.25 H 7.5 D 34.5 W

Nautical Decor Rope

Mirror with gold rope finish, 36 D

Striped canvas nesting tables

Striped canvas nesting tables

Striped canvas nesting tables

Striped canvas nesting tables

Antique brass floor lamp that looks like a vintage style nautical search lamp 66 H

Antique brass floor lamp that looks like a vintage style nautical search lamp 66 H

Framed Green Fan Coral

Framed Green Fan Coral

Arm Chair with gold leaf accents, 24 W 23.5 D 39 H

Arm Chair with gold leaf accents, 24 W 23.5 D 39 H

Contact us for more information on these items at 713.803.4949!

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

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“Singing the Blues” at High Point Market

 

The High Point Market, the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world, takes place every six months, and the Spring 2015 exposition recently showcased the upcoming trends in the interior design industry. Let me tell you, the color blue was everywhere, and in every shade: blueberry, cobalt, indigo, cornflower…

Perhaps people have grown tired of the burgundy shade in dining rooms and living spaces. Perhaps Marsala is a color better suited to the fashion industry for now.

Perhaps people have grown tired of the burgundy shade in dining rooms and living spaces. Perhaps Marsala is a color better suited to the fashion industry for now.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

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The End of Harvey

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June 21st marks the first day of summer, but for most children summer break just started.  Summertime is usually connected to outside activities like pools, parks, and family vacations, but who says your home can’t feel summery?  Follow one of more of the below easy tips, to “summerfy” your home!

Tip One: Declutter your home and allow for minimal accessories with pops of color.

Image from Pinterest

Tip Two: Liven up a space with succulent plants, such as cacti, in whimsical planters, or keep it simple with fresh cut flowers in a mason jar.

Image from Pinterest

Image from Pinterest

Tip Three: Brighten up your sofa or bed with fresh pillows.

Tip Four: Have any tired lamps that are looking for a new life? Go crazy and lacquer the base, shade, or both!


Amy Howard lacquer colors available at Design House

Tip Five: Do an artwork swap with framed shells or summer landscapes.

Tip Six: Add a seating arrangement near windows to allow for summer reading and conversation while staying out of the elements.

Need help finding these items?  Come on by the showroom located in the Houston Design Center, or give the showroom a call at 713-803-4949 and one of the sales associates will be happy to help.

Other posts you may also be interested in:

Tub vs. Shower??

Shower or Tub??? OK, it’s time for me to eat my words again, or maybe just issue a change in opinion about showers vs. tubs. Most people have a very definite preference, and when we are working on projects we have to determine those...

read more

The End of Harvey

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Hurricane Preparedness for your Houston Home

 

If you live in Houston, hurricane and flood preparedness is an all-year event. The recent storms in Texas caused some of the worst flooding in the Houston area since Hurricane Ike back in 2008. Now that hurricane season is upon us once again, it’s important to revisit our hurricane and flood survival plans, for both residents and business owners.

2008 was quite a learning experience for me, both as a resident of Houston and also as a designer.  After living in an area for more than 30 years with nothing other than power outages, some street flooding, and occasional downed trees, Hurricane Ike arrived in September, and then came the rains of April 28th.  Ike caused extreme power outages for many homes and businesses and resulted in streets being lined more than 6 ft high with trees.  This created an eerie tunnel effect as you drove along the suddenly much more narrow lanes.

We were without power for more than two weeks both at home and work.  I learned quickly how to operate a generator and about the endless amount of fuel it needed.  Gas stations with operating pumps were hard to find.  The heavy rains at the end of April caused a different problem; there was flooding in areas that had never flooded before.  People awoke early that morning and stepped out of bed into standing water.  What a shock and what do you do?  Of course, there are the published lists of supplies to get in preparation for hurricanes and floods, such as water, batteries, non perishables, ice, etc., but I found that these were not nearly enough to prepare us for what happened and especially for what followed.  Surely, I realize that what happened to us cannot be compared to the losses of many in Galveston; however, because we are further from the coast and feel a little less vulnerable, is exactly why I want to share some of what I have learned.  What can you do to prepare for afterwards?

Credit: Pixabay

Since we had not flooded in the 30 plus years we have been in our home, we had recently had the conversation about “should we continue to pay for flood insurance?”  Fortunately, we decided to continue.  Please do the same; it’s not that expensive.  What a set back it would have been if we had not!  Check with the carrier of your homeowner’s insurance, and they can help you with this separate policy under the National Flood Insurance Program.  While you are doing this, also check to see if you are covered for wind and hail damage under your home owner’s policy.  You should know that flood insurance does not cover living expenses while you repair your damages, and if your mortgage holder is listed on your insurance policy, you cannot cash your insurance claim check without their approval.  You can expect this to slow the process down, but stay after them.  Call again and again.

Also, the contents coverage is limited to $100,000 and structural damage to $250,000.  To get the maximum you are entitled to, you will be far ahead with the process if you already have an inventory and idea of cost and age of your belongings.  You will be required to supply a list of any damaged items, including their age and value.  Take pictures or video as a back up, not just of the contents, but also of any structural damage.  Manufacturers’ name, serial and model numbers, price and description are needed for appliances.  This proof of loss form must be filed within 60 days.

The first thing you should do to get all this started is to contact your insurance agent, and if he is not available for some reason, call The National Flood Insurance Program.  You will then be assigned an adjuster.  You will not be reimbursed for any items not authorized by the adjuster. Don’t be surprised when the adjuster is from another part of the country, as they travel all over the country to help with disasters.  They receive a flat salary on a per case basis, so there is no reason for them to give you a small claim payment. Do get their name, phone number, and e-mail because you will need to be in touch with them with questions and responses.  We found ours to be helpful in guiding us through this.  After looking at your damages, he will be able to estimate what he can allow you up front, so ask for an advance or partial payment for contents and structural loss.  Then you will not be given any more funding until you have all your proof of loss turned in and he determines how much will be allowed for structural damage.  You can get another draw after some of the repair is done and you request an inspector to come and report back to NFIP.  This inspector is a different person than the adjustor that was sent to appraise.

Another major expense will be the clean up, and there are many around to take advantage of you here, so check them out thoroughly.  It is best to ask around about this before you are desperate and vulnerable and willing to just take whoever can come out.  You may have an uninhabitable, muddy mess that perhaps even needs to first have nasty water pumped out.  The sheetrock will need to be pulled out at the two or four foot mark, depending on how high the water got.  These heights are used because the size of the sheetrock is 4’ X 8’, so it makes for less waste.  Insulation needs to be removed from all exterior walls.  All walls, floors, and everything that got wet need to be completely dried out and sprayed with disinfectant.  Switches and outlets that were wet need to be replaced.  You may want to look into services like POD or SAM that provide on-site storage for your items while you are repairing the structure; they can often be  less expense than moving and storage.

Let’s back up to when you stepped out of bed into water.  Hopefully, you resisted the urge to switch on the lights to see what was happening.  Standing water may be electrically charged, so turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your area, and don’t turn it back on until your structure is dried out.  To turn off the breaker box, stand on a dry spot and use a dry wooden stick or pole to open the door and push the main breaker to off.  Then turn each circuit breaker off.  Also, turn the gas off; for this you will need pliers or a wrench, so know where they are.  To make sure you have it turned off, you can check the meter after a few minutes.  Of course, you need to report any downed power lines or gas leaks immediately.

Many published lists of suggested supplies are available for hurricane preparations.  In addition, you may want to consider purchasing a portable gasoline generator or a natural gas generator that can be assigned to however much you want to power in an outage and can be permanently mounted outside.  Make a list of what would be necessary to power, and an electrician can tell you what size generator you would need and set it up for you.  These come on periodically for a routine check throughout the year and are ready in case of any power outage.  With the smaller, portable gasoline generators, always keep them outside and have several safe gas cans that have a good spout and closure to transport the fuel you will need.  Large cans are great to save trips to the gas station, but a smaller one is easier to use to fill the generator.

Unlike the warnings you receive for an approaching hurricane, you may not have any warning of a flood; but in either case you will need to have a response plan ready.  It is much less stressful to make a plan in advance.  Have those personal property records already prepared, and keep photocopies of inventory, insurance policies, deeds, and other valuable papers in a different location.  Have the phone numbers you will need with you, such as your insurance agent’s number, or in the case of floods caused by rain, FEMA’s contact information.  Also, have your computer unplugged, backed up, and out of the range of flooding. Make sure you know which reputable disaster recovery companies to contact before the catastrophe strikes — don’t wait until it’s too late. Ensure that they have fans and dehumidifiers, and if not, make sure to have the contact information of companies that can provide them.

Businesses particularly need a disaster recovery plan.  Not only do the computers need to be shut down, unplugged, and covered in case water comes not just from flooding but possibly from above, they also need to have off-site storage/backup.  You may even need recovery server hosting.  The use of cloud-based software is becoming increasingly popular with small businesses from retailers to restaurants, so business owners and employees can access important information wherever they go. This allows you to conduct business at a different location if your in-house data center is offline. These cloud-based applications include Freshbooks and Zendesk, which eliminate problems such as power requirements and physical barriers, keeping your data safe, stored and accessible from any device.

At the very least, even with a small business, have an employee plan so they know what to do, who to contact, and everyone’s number of where they might be reached.  We thought we were prepared, but when our computers were down for so long, we had not thought to print out the immediate appointments or numbers of our clients and vendors.  Since our phones were out, we had to forward calls to our cell phones.  Have a remote operation plan.

Being prepared can make your misfortune a lot more bearable.  It can save you a lot of money and get you back to normal faster.

Other recovery items of interest:

Solid wood furniture can usually be repaired and cleaned, but wood veneer often separates and warps.  Particle board and plywood fall apart if wet for very long.

Wood alcohol or turpentine applied with a cotton ball may remove white mildew spots on wood.

Cream wood restorers with lanolin will help restore good wooden furniture.

Upholstered furniture soaked by floodwaters should probably be thrown out unless it is very valuable or an antique.

Clean and disinfect dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers only with water safe for drinking and only if the sewer line is working.

Throw out any food touched by floodwaters – even canned food, and do not keep food in bottles or jars with caps or screw on lids.

Valuable papers, books, and photographs can be restored with a lot of effort.  Rinse and freeze them in a frost free freezer or commercial locker until you have time to work on them.  Dry them quickly with a blow dryer when you thaw them, and don’t try to force paper products apart – just keep drying them.  Photocopy soon because they may deteriorate.

If a computer disk has valuable information, rinse it in clear water and put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Later on you can take it to a drying center and have the data transferred.  Many companies that restore computers and computer records are members of the Disaster Recovery Institute.

Things look dry on the outside long before they dry on the inside.  A way to test is to apply a piece of clear plastic with all edges sealed with taped.  Check it 24 hrs later to see if there are beads of condensation.  Do not paint, lay carpet or flooring until completely dry.

Photograph your rooms to document any damages.

Woman In Gold

 

Have you seen the recent film, Woman in Gold, starring Helen Mirren and Ryan Reynolds? It’s based on the true story of Maria Altmann, a Jewish refugee who fought the government of Austria to get back a Gustav Klimt painting stolen from her family by the Nazis. Klimt painted the “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” in 1907, in oil, silver, and gold on canvas. Elaborate and brilliant, the Art Nouveau painting of the Viennese salon lady is anything but dull.

Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I

“Tribute to L’Accomplissement” and “L’Attente” are mixed media tributes to the Klimt painting by French artist, Roland Renaud, and they’re for sale here at Design House. Painted on sheet metal with gold leaf, the artworks depict a couple embracing and an Egyptian woman, respectively.

“Tribute to L’Accomplissement” by Roland Renaud, 32″W x 67″H

“L’Attente” by Roland Renaud, 32″W x 67″H

These pieces really are stunning in person. Come and see them at the Design House Showroom for yourself, and browse our collection of both decorative and collectible artwork, a range of pieces for all budgets.

Art, Design, and Catastrophe

 

As Houston sits submerged in water from the recent floods, I find myself snickering at pictures of fancy-shmancy party-goers in Venice falling into the Grand Canal during the 2015 Venice Biennale, one of the most important contemporary art exhibitions in the world. Because I may be sitting in water involuntarily, but at least I’m not dressed for a cocktail party.

Also, I can view gorgeous contemporary artwork right here at Design House, without risking a tumble off a crowded jetty while in stilettos. Some examples of the collectible art in the showroom:

Oil of trees, 30″ x 40″

Recycled glass abstract, 12″x12″

18” x 80” abstract painting with resin coating

18” x 80” abstract painting with resin coating

Come and see what other gems we have in our showroom! We are located in the Houston Design Center,  and open Monday through Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm. We look forward to seeing you!

DHI Supports Red Nose Day!

Design House staff, from left: Paige, Rima, Rebecca, Connie in the flowers, Moriah being dramatic, Jin, and Anna.

People Watching at Maison & Objet in Miami

 

Last week, Connie and I went to Miami to attend Maison & Objet’s first show in the Americas. In case you didn’t know, Maison & Objet is a major French trade fair for interior design, one of the largest in all of Europe. It was, in a word, fabulous. We’ll be posting soon about all the amazing innovation, art, and design was saw there, but first, a small taste of the M&O party-goers for some eye candy:

And yes, in case you were wondering: I was hiding behind palm trees with my smartphone, snapping pictures of random, beautiful people like a weirdo. Hey, you do what you gotta do…

Choosing Showroom Artwork

 

As a designer here at Design House, choosing art for our showroom has been one of my favorite things to do. I was a painting major and it’s a dream come true to be around so much art every day.

Just this week, an art vendor stopped by, loaded with decorative paintings and collection pieces of all sizes. He started bringing them out, and as the sun glistened and reflected on the glass and resin of this mixed media piece, I immediately recognized it!

This artist is Mary Hong from Grayton Beach, Florida, one of my favorite places on Earth. I remember seeing the art for the first time 10 years ago and thinking it was so cool that she used recycled and found glass on her canvas. It actually looks elegant and gives you a great feeling. Hong pours on a clear resin to finish her paintings and this really makes the light bounce from shard to shard.

She tends to keep her colors light and breezy but the angled, hard-edged glass slices keep it contemporary. These pieces are versatile and can go in a bathroom, bedroom or living area!

Houston Arts & Culture: Sweeney Todd

 

This is the popular notion of opera, but it’s not always accurate.

One may think opera is all about plus size women wailing away in their Viking helmets, but it’s so much more. I like to think of it as the greatest expression of storytelling through music. I’ve often been told that opera is the Olympics of singing, and as an opera singer myself, I have definitely found that to be true. Making sure one’s voice is heard in a full opera house and above an orchestra without the use of microphones for an entire performance takes a lot of practice, stamina, and skill.

Nowadays, one may witness opera singers venturing outside of the standard opera repertoire and performing in musicals. Last Wednesday night, for example, my husband and I were lucky enough to see the famous opera singer, Nathan Gunn, perform the title role in the hit musical, Sweeney Todd, at the Houston Grand Opera’s Wortham Theater. Sought after by all of the major opera houses for his luscious voice and hunky good looks, it was such a rare treat to watch Gunn perform as the menacing butcher of Fleet Street at the Houston Grand.

Sweeney Todd, showing at the Houston Grand Opera’s Wortham Theater.

 

Another incredible opera singer, dramatic soprano Susan Bullock, plays Sweeney Todd’s partner in crime, Mrs. Lovett, and will keep you laughing till your sides hurt. The story captivates a wide variety of audiences, and has something for everybody. A thrilling production filled with comedy, vengeance, romance, and a little gore really makes it a show to remember. Even my husband couldn’t stop talking about the performance!

To learn more about the story and to purchase your tickets online before they sell out, go to https://www.houstongrandopera.org. But hurry, because there are only THREE performances left! Get your tickets while you still can.

Lighting Today in Interior Design

 

Has lighting become confusing?  Don’t know what to look for as replacements?  Too many new choices?  And you may be frustrated by all the discontinued light bulbs!   No need to stress or hoard.  It’s just getting better!

Probably you are well aware of LEDs (light emitting diodes) by now, but technology and pricing keeps changing so fast with them, you may be confused as to what to buy.  They are becoming the bulb of choice, though.  They do cost more but that price has dropped to a level that they are worth your consideration.  Plus the CRI (color rendering index) is really good now.  Look for a higher number to indicate the effect of a light source on color appearance of its surroundings.  Something in the 80s or 90s is the best.  If you want them to look like your old incandescents, look for 2700K (Kelvin); but if they are around or replacing halogen, you might prefer 3000K.  And for fluorescent color, you may go higher.

A modern LED light fixture.

The LEDs will last 10 to 25 times longer, save on energy costs, do not contain mercury, don’t emit IR or UV radiation, are dimmable and are available for every use, home or office.  An old incandescent bulb released 90% of their energy as heat and a CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) releases about 80%, but an LED releases only 10%.  An incandescent lifespan was 1000 hours, a halogen 2000 – 3000, a CFL 8000-10000, but now we can expect 30,000-50,000 from an LED.  A 60 watt incandescent put out 820 lumens.  The CFL only used 15 watts to put out 950 lumens, which was a great improvement, but the LED uses only 13.5 watts to produce 1100 lumens.

You can see what is so appealing about converting to these.  In 2010, LEDs had 6% market share, by 2016, 49%, and by 2020, 71% is predicted.  This technology is moving so fast that generations of it will be measured in months rather than years.  So stay tuned and give them a try!

The annual Christmas Share program spreads the joy of the holidays to many families by providing toys, gift cards, and blankets to hundreds of children in the area. The families we serve struggle to provide food and basic necessities for their children often without enough funds leftover for rent and utilities. During the 2013 holiday season, over 600 children received gifts!

This year, our goal is to again reach at least 600 children through the program. We will also provide a twin size blanket for each child in addition to their toy bag. We hear from churches, schools and families that many children do not have blankets at home. Thanks to a very generous donation, we have reached our goal for blankets! Your participation can make this year another success!

NO: stuffed animals, boardgames, video games, NO: XBOX, Playstation, Wii, etc..

YES: Legos, Sport Equipment, Skateboards, Scooters, Remote Cars, Craft Kits, Cosemtic Sets, Nerf Toys , Polly Pocket, Disney anything, Baby Einstein, Books, Fisher Price Toys, Super Hero Anything, VTECH toys, Gift Cards, New Blankets
*Must be NEW and UNWRAPPED

Fabric House in Houston has more than JUST Fabric!

The physical expansion will house separate rooms for all our growing selections of wallcovering, trims and drapery hardware, giving these lines their own space from all the many fabrics.  Fabric House “houses” approximately 40 fabric lines, 20 wallcovering lines, 8 trim lines, 9 hardware lines and 4 contract/ commercial wallcovering lines, most which also offer quick ship.  Plus, Fabric House has a new line, Coulisse, which offers solar, wood and grass-woven window coverings that can even be motorized. The variety and options in Drapery Hardware is growing with cutting edge materials and styles and the new LeFevre Collection line of pre-made drapery AND drapery hardware!  Wallcoverings are exciting and so current with applications of peacock feathers, glass beads, recycled windshield glass, and sea sand.  And to be introduced in the new addition is LED paper, that can also be obtained in LED fabric by special order.  These products are of many styles and a wide price range. There are new fine fabrics from England, Netherlands, and Spain that even though overseas fabrics, can be delivered in five days.

Finally, the Fabric House team is thrilled to announce a new employee import from England.  Welcome Jimmy to the special service team of Nancy, Penny and Kate.  In addition to Nancy’s vast experience in fabrics, and Penny’s thirteen years in wallcoverings, Jimmy will be able to add his expertise with window coverings.  He has ten years’ experience in England working on projects also in France and Spain and including everything from palaces to the Beckhams. So, Fabric House will continue to provide a even more service oriented, one-stop shopping experience for all your fabric, wallcoverings, and window covering needs for both residential and commercial use.

1st PLACE : DESIGN HOUSE for Best non-primary Residential Home!!
The design team ( Connie LeFevre, Jennifer Renner, Amanda Lockhart, & Jin Lee Bang) were proud to accept another 1st place award, with all the creativity and fun challenges in designing the gorgeous property in Colorado… more exciting news to come..stay tuned!

WINNER!..Judges voted on Best Ports of Call for:

Best Décor – Chilling in St. Petersburg by Design House, Inc.

The People’s Choice for Best Port of Call was awarded to:

St. Petersburg by Design House, Inc.

What is NEW in flooring? A few innovative and cool options for your floors!

 

coloring book wood floor

We recently installed liquid floor squares in a church area for youth.  These 2 ft squares can be dropped into complementary laminate flooring & spaced just far enough apart for the children to play on each.  They are colorful & the colors inside move as they step on them.  What fun & what a hit!  Would also be great in club or play room enviroment.

floor tiles that change color – touch sensitive

Here is another fun one for children.  With wood flooring from Carving Kids by Austrian manufacturer Mafi, kids can color directly on the wood flooring using crayons or markers.  They can be cleaned with Mafi soap.  This designer wood flooring has CNC-engraved smiley faces, kitty cats, & flowers, or more adult tartan & retro patterns.  When the children are older or you tire of it, it can be sanded to a regular oak floor.

How about wood flooring that plays music?  Walnut seems to work best for its sound transmission.  It vibrates best.  A CNC cutter creates grooves in the surface & when objects are rolled over it musical pitches are produced.  The space between the openings & the depth determines the volume.  This product is called Me-lo-dy.

What about an underwater wood floor?  This restaurant structure using Malaysian teak flooring was assembled on land & then submerged.  The glass top allows the fish to swim all around you as you are dining.  Yes, it is expensive.  Total construction cost was $5 million, but with lunch & dinner running $200 – $300 +, perhaps it’s not too much…?

‘water over wood’ floors in a restaurant

Something else to consider:  Hate your existing floors?  Instead of ripping them out you should know about dyes.  It isn’t the easiest nor quickest, but it is an option for the unique & for saving a floor.  The color options go from apx 15 for stain to endless for dye, & you can make a floor look totally different.  There is much to know about this & it can be used for wood floors, but do your research.  We recently used dye on old terrazzo flooring in a building we were renovating.  Stains hardly made a difference, but we were able to get some beautiful flooring in this space by dying them & were very sustainable!