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!
When the winter months arrive, I just want to wrap up in a warm blanket and get cozy with some friends. There’s a Danish word for that, and so much more: Hygge, pronounced hyoo-gah, sounds nothing like how it looks, in English!
Hygge is a Danish and Norwegian word describing a mood of coziness and conviviality, along with feelings of wellness and contentment. And of course, there’s a whole design style centered around facilitating those feelings. Here are some ways you can welcome hygge into your home.
Create a Cozy Space
You can never have too many pillows! Have a blanket ready for a snuggle, too. I designed a custom-made chaise lounge for this reading nook with plenty of hygge touches, like a sheepskin rug.
Light Flameless Candles
Nothing creates a mood like candlelight. In hygge, more is better, when it comes to candles. Flameless candles with flickering effects are perfect, and decrease the negative effects of burning real ones. Brighten the long nights with an amber flameless candlelit glow, and you’re sure to feel the hygge in your space.
Gather ‘Round the Fireplace
A simple yet elegant design with lots of hygge style! I custom-created this contemporary fireplace and surround to contrast with the warm, knotty cedar wood wall construction, and personalized with art and pottery. The stool and rug are perfect for getting the fire started on a chilly night.
Feed Your Friends
Invite your friends and family around for fun activities to keep the cold at bay. Bake bread or decorate cookies together; offer hot cocoa and cider or tea and nibbles to visitors. The velvet chairs I selected for this Bay Area condo’s dining space provide a feeling of being hugged while talking and eating, the very essence of hygge.
If you want more hygge in your home, Kimball Starr designs comfortable, cozy homes through Northern California and Nevada. Contact her today for a consultation!
Your bedroom is a key part of your life, the place where you restore your health with a good night’s sleep, and where romantic encounters happen. With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s a great time to revamp your most important space for romance and rejuvenation. I pull back the curtain on a few of my best bedroom designs, to inspire you.
Intimate Hillside Retreat
Nestled into a hillside, this four-story home boasts breathtaking views of downtown San Francisco. Contemporary design, color, and character welcome the owners and their guests.
In the master suite, a chic array of vintage patterns, warm colors, and low lighting create an intimate retreat to enjoy with a loved one. Clean lines in furniture design make it easy to relax in the space.
White leather lounge chairs and daffodil-yellow lacquer nightstands brighten the mornings, while dramatic draperies dip the room in darkness for a restful night. I can’t decide whether my favorite finishing touch is the gold detailing on the window treatment or the floral lampshades!
Relaxing, Restful Colors
While the rest of this Bay Area condo is filled with bright colors, the master bedroom tones down the shades to cooler, calmer hues, perfect for relaxing and sleep. Floating walls without doors separate the office and master bedroom from the living area.
Metallic textiles and wall hangings create interest, even in a calm space. Suspended bedside pendant lamps provide dramatic lighting while leaving the floating shelf-as-nightstand uncluttered. Reducing the number of items within view helps to prepare for a restful slumber.
Gentleman’s Love of Travel
The owner of this colorful bedroom loves to travel. We set the color palette with a Union Jack rug, which is a London nod to his favorite destination. Bright red also fans the flames of a passionate evening together.
Dramatic wavy pinstripe drapery softens the walls, while the ink blue leather bed and silver bowling pin lamps complete the distinguished interior. We dressed the bed with comfy pillows, to dream of visiting London again – maybe for a romantic getaway?
If you dream of a master bedroom that fulfills all your desires, Kimball Starr can make that dream come true! Contact her today!
Near the end of 2019, a legendary lighting designer, Ingo Maurer, passed away. He left behind a huge body of inspiring work, and today I’m sharing a few of his ideas.
Ingo Maurer’s passion for light began in the mid 1960s, birthed from some of his earliest memories of fishing with his father, seeing the reflection of light dance with the water. Over 50 years, Maurer developed an outstanding career, with exhibitions in museums all over the world, commissions from international clients and brands, and a firm employing nearly 80 people.
Maurer’s work displays a love for light, the films and artists that inspired him, and a commitment to not making compromises. There is no one who creates lights as unique as Ingo Maurer.
Zettelz 6 Suspension Lightfrom Ingo Maurer is meant to have the owner participate in its final look. Japanese paper sheets suspended from stainless steel rods are inserted into the central housing. The placement of the rods is up to the user, resulting in each piece being totally unique. Printed and blank paper sheets are included, for personalization.
Birdie by Ingo Maurer is created by wings in real goose feather-wrapped bulbs. The line includes table lamps, pendants, wall lights; all free to fly in the imagination of design. LED technology combines with creativity, and the result is a beautiful winged collection.
The Ingo Maurer Canned Light puts a different spin on Andy Warhol-inspired pop art; it actually appears to “pop” from the wall or ceiling from its spring-like top. This contemporary design by Christoph Matthias and Hagen Sczech for Ingo Maurer will likely be around as long as Warhol’s original.
Ingo Maurer’s first-ever lamp design, conceived in 1966. The Ingo Maurer Bulb Table Lamp shows just how far back Maurer’s appreciation of the form and function of the incandescent bulb goes. The bulb-inside-a-bulb design — of a hand-blown crystal glass shade and polished chromium base — is matched inside by a top-chromated incandescent bulb.
Floatation is a suspension light made from Japanese paper shades for ambient illumination. Three handmade shades are suspended by thin metal cables, while a red iron ring provides a pop of color. The paper shades of Floatation are crinkled, an intended design attribute, casting soft light over a dining table or living space.
The Ingo Maurer Campari Light shows how innovative and creative luminaires can be. Ten original Campari soda bottles, still filled with the classic soda, are combined into one extraordinary ensemble, wrapping the room in a fascinating red. Down the center of the bottles, a transparent plastic body holds the light fixture, under a transparent canopy. All the bottles are removable, and the luminaire is height-adjustable with a Campari crown cap at the top. What a marvelous way to look at light!
Do you want to feature stunning lighting design in YOUR home? Contact Kimball Starr today for a consultation. She designs beautiful homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada.