Nothing is so instantly pleasing as looking at before-and-after photos. Today we’re talking about transforming a living and dining area so that the spaces flow into each other.
My client’s San Francisco Bay Area condo has good bones, with strong Craftsman lines and gorgeous built-ins. We wanted to highlight those, creating a masculine, comfortable, modern classic living room.
To increase circulation space and take advantage of the natural light streaming through those beautiful wood frame windows, I replaced the bright blue sofa with a sky-blue custom-made chaise lounge, and a sheepskin rug. Now it’s the perfect corner for a cup of coffee with a book, or just to daydream.
I used a mix of primary colors with neutrals to create interest and bring out warm tones in the wood, especially the fireplace. An oversized octagonal animal-hide footstool doubles as a surface for a tray of drinks. The deep blue rug is cozy underfoot, while a pair of leather club chairs makes room circulation a breeze, across from a red velvet sofa to enjoy the view.
Because the living room flows directly into the dining area, I continued the primary color palette and touchable fabrics, covering the dining chairs in a buttery yellow velvet, and the chair backs in a complementary pattern. We refrained from using any window dressings, to maximize light, views, and the Craftsman wood features. Now it’s both classy and comfortable when our gentleman wants to welcome guests, or just enjoy the spaces on his own.
Kimball Starr Interior Design transforms individual rooms or whole home spaces. Contact her today for a consultation!
It’s spring again! Today I’m sharing ideas to envy and inspire your patio, courtyard, front garden or city back yard.
Wouldn’t it be a lovely way to start each day, walking along a colorful garden pathway like this one? Pick a theme or mix-n-match geometric shapes and patterns.
A log pathway works well with Craftsman-style homes, or any garden space that emphasizes natural materials like wood.
Outdoor Living Rooms
In my client’s Palo Alto condo, I created an outdoor room against a living wall. Sheltered by a modern umbrella with a built-in light, comfortable outdoor loveseats and chairs with pillows in colorful, sun-safe fabrics pair easily with a striped ottoman. The two color-changing cubes act as cocktail tables, providing additional light and a techy taste of fun.
The tiling on this outdoor patio acts as an area rug, defining the living space. A pair of chairs, footstools and a table complement bench seating, nestled into a sunny garden corner.
Add lighting to your outdoor spaces, both for safety and beautiful effect. Wall-washing outdoor fencing with uplights and downlights creates a cool effect against wooden slatted fencing and greenery.
Here’s someone who really went all-out on their lighting design, creating a pathway to the pergola, and a canopy effect with string lights. Tall stake-lights provide area lighting just behind the seating, while table candles give that perfect intimate touch.
Courtyards and Patios
In another design for one of my clients, a private interior courtyard in this Folsom Street San Francisco home looks like you’re actually somewhere in the Mediterranean or Morocco, with an intricately tiled water feature in front of a high wooden privacy fence, hung with multiple planters, and plenty of seating options. Truly a city oasis!
In advance of Earth Day on April 22, and also because we’ve been dealing with a global pandemic that’s keeping us indoors more than usual, we’re talking about wellness design for interiors.
Wellness is much more than just going to a spa or doing yoga, it’s a movement that values a whole spectrum of healthy lifestyle choices, from exercise, fitness, and nutrition to living in balance, developing healthy social connections, emphasizing relaxation and joyful experiences, and valuing mindfulness and slower living. It also means creating and living in spaces that nourish our mind and body. Here are a few concepts to get started.
Biophilia means that people have an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and life, an inherent human connection to the natural world. Biophilic design harnesses this affinity to create more natural environments in which to live, work, and play. Designs that connect us to nature are proven by research to inspire, boost our productivity and contribute to better overall wellbeing.
In my design work, I frequently bring the outdoors in and create indoor environments that reference nature. A few years ago I donated my services to redesign this chemotherapy treatment room at Marin Cancer Care hospital.
This mid-century living room is made more inviting by a driftwood sculptural wall feature with air plants and moss, softening the hard edges of modern design styles.
Color has a strong influence on the mood of a room and how it makes you feel. Lighter colors are considered to be airy and make rooms feel larger and brighter by bouncing light around. Darker colors are more formal, feeling intimate. Neutrals of black, gray, white and brown can be used on their own, or to establish a balance when combined with active or passive colors.
Active colors like orange, yellow and pink are bright and excite the mind, boosting creativity, while red is known to stimulate the appetite. Passive colors like blue and green are cool, calming the mind and aiding mental focus and relaxation. Colors should be customized to your own personal tastes.
Make sure your colors also coordinate with each other, so that you aren’t disturbed by moving between spaces, and are pleased when viewing spaces in the same line of sight together. A good designer will take all these things into consideration when creating your home’s interiors.
Light is one of the most important elements in home design. Living spaces designed around natural light sources, smart lighting systems to better match the natural rhythms of our bodies, and artificial lighting that mimics daylight are all ways to address our need for appropriate interior light.
Natural daylight provides a tremendous health and wellness boost, improving productivity, alertness, and even mood. We need vitamin D from natural daylight to absorb calcium and other minerals in food. Daylight inhibits the production of melatonin, which ensures that we get tired when it’s dark outside, while cortisol does the opposite, making us alert and focused, triggered by daylight. Getting the balance right is key to enjoying your home.
Kimball Starr Interior Design can create a healthy and beautiful home environment just for you – Contact her today for a consultation!
Art can completely change the feeling of an interior. It’s often one of the final steps in completing a re-design or new room, but a good designer starts planning for artwork in the space long before final touches. Here are a few examples from spaces designed for my clients, such as the retro-modern bachelor pad above, elevated by an oil painting in the living area.
In this San Francisco condo of less than 600 feet overall, there are multiple scales of artwork on display, creating interest in this petite living room, while not overwhelming the space. View the larger images from across the room, while the smaller images draw you in for closer inspection.
The owners of this comfortable mid-century apartment met and fell in love at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, so it’s a lovely reminder of the start of their relationship to feature the iconic landscape above their sofa. Plus I tied in the colors from the photo to the bright colors in their throw pillows.
In this contemporary open-plan living and dining room, you can see the relationship between the artwork above the custom-designed fireplace and the artwork on the back dining wall, behind the chandelier. Considering how art will appear from every viewing angle is an important part of designing for the whole space.
Kimball Starr can design YOUR space to highlight a cherished artwork, or help you find something new that’s exactly right. Contact her today for a consultation!
Recently I’ve been seeing more of a design trend that I’ve used myself – painting an interior door a different color from the surrounding trim. Here’s why this trend is becoming even more popular.
It’s easy! Painting a single door a different color takes less time and costs less than painting an entire room, or even a feature wall.
Painting a door can have just as much of a dramatic impact as a feature wall, depending on the color you choose. Black, green, blue, or even red can provide a striking contrast to a more muted trim and wall color.
You can experiment with color. If you don’t like a black door or prefer a brighter color, change it!
Try multiple door colors within the same space for even more wow factor.
Kimball Starr designs beautiful, stylish homes throughout Northern California and Nevada. Contact her today for a consultation!