What’s old is new again! Retro is back, not only in style, but in clashingly colorful furnishings. Check out these bright interiors from around the web, plus a project of my own.
Style elements to adore: 1970s Lavaliers wallpaper by Little Green Paint Co. and a multicolor long paper storage desk.
Style elements to adore: Hicks Hexagon wallpaper with burled wood drinks cabinet.
Style elements to adore: Patterns galore, on rugs, furniture, and soft furnishings.
Style elements to adore: Orange velvet sofa with a faux fur under multiple pendant lamps.
Style elements to adore: Colored glassware with matching place settings, and coordinating floral arrangement.
Style elements to adore: B&B Italia multi-directional lounge furniture atop a plush crimson rug, contrasted by bright green AV storage and acrylic chairs.
If you want to try retro bright color but don’t know where to begin, Kimball Starr Interior Design can help! She creates personalized designs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Contact her today for a socially-distanced in-person or remote consultation.
We’re entering the holiday season, and having meals together is one way we cement our family and community bonds. If you can’t be together in person, join each other virtually! Here’s a step-by-step guide to hosting a great virtual Thanksgiving, or any kind of group meal online.
Decide how to connect
There’s a cornucopia of platforms and methods for connecting on the internet: Facebook or Instagram Chat, Facetime, Google Meet, Skype, and Zoom are the most used. Whichever method you choose, make sure everyone has the right hardware and software available.
Once you’ve decided on a platform, set the mood by inviting everyone with flair! Whether it’s a fun email or an evite, get everyone excited by making your dinner announcement special.
Be sure to include these key details:
Joining information: Links to the event, dial-in information and access codes
What to expect
If you’re playing games that will require access to a website, collecting household objects ahead of time, or making a centerpiece for a competition, say so!
This is the perfect opportunity to set expectations about timing up-front. Provide a start and end time, and let guests know that if everyone is ready to sign off early or wants to play one more game, that’s okay.
Have a show-and-tell about the food you’ve prepared. What’s your favorite dish? Why did you pick the one you made? This can often bring up family memories of prior Thanksgivings together, and the traditions that made them special.
Toast with a signature cocktail
It’s fun to send out a signature drink recipe, so everyone can feel connected from afar. If you choose to make a toast, consider sending a prompt in advance. Ask guests to reflect on what they’ve learned in 2020, or, there’s always the Thanksgiving standby “What are you thankful for?” which may feel especially poignant this year.
If you want to get really creative, we recommend a centerpiece competition. Anyone who wants to take part can create something ahead of time, then show it off and explain the meanings behind their choices.
Story by sentence
This game is good for mixed age groups with kids. Have one person begin telling a story. After they’ve spoken a sentence or written it in the chat, another person continues the story with their own sentence. Keep going until someone says “The End.” Go alphabetically by first name.
Rose, thorn and bud
This game and conversation starter is especially good for Thanksgiving. Each person takes a turn telling about their roses (things they’re grateful for or what makes them happy at the moment), thorns (a disappointment or a difficult moment from the day), and buds (something they’re looking forward to or hope to do). Keep it to simple words/phrases instead of a long explanation.
Just because you aren’t in the room together doesn’t mean you can’t take a family photo! Get everyone to pose, do something fun and funny, and make a memory to share for many years to come, just by taking a screenshot. This is also a great way to end the gathering on a high note.
Opening and closing the circle
Don’t forget about beginnings and endings. When everyone’s sitting in front of their individual screens, it can be hard to figure out how to settle into a rhythm, and even harder to know when to sign off. Try choosing ways to start and end your virtual dinner so the beginning and end are clear.
For example, you might start with everyone doing a show-and-tell of their food, or the centerpiece competition. To wrap up, you could ask, “What’s one thing you’re looking forward to the next time we do this together?”
Remember: A typical family dinner is only about 20 minutes long, so you don’t have to spend hours online together — unless you really want to. When you set up your virtual dinner, keep it to 60 minutes or less, and try to make expectations clear during the event. “Now that we’ve all had dessert, how about we take our family photo and then sign off?” This ensures everyone has a good time. And that’s something to be grateful for!
Kimball Starr Interior Design is thankful for all her clients and friends in the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Contact her today for a socially-distanced in-person or remote consultation to create a memorable dining space.
The smallest room in the house is a great place to experiment, get wild, add some bling! Here are some inspiring powder rooms and bathrooms from around the web.
Style elements to adore: A wall of metallic mosaic tiles that bounce sparkling light from a beautiful pendant lamp.
Style elements to adore: Cabriole sink legs, gold leaf tiling, and etched mirrors. Notice how each historic design style in gold — French on the left and Victorian on the right — is accented with a purple flower to give it life.
Style elements to adore: Gorgeous freestanding tub painted black, balanced on curved silver-leafed legs. The epitome of elegance, under a modern chandelier.
Style elements to adore: Patina metal vessel sink and curved faucet, contrasted with sinuously marbled walls, singing out refined taste.
Style elements to adore: Art deco double sconce and circular mirror paired with copper-toned wallpaper in a tropical pattern beckons you to imagine traveling through far-away jungles, returning from your adventure, clean and refreshed.
If you want to be daring, try something new, experiment, Kimball Starr Interior Design can create YOUR perfect powder room throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Contact her today for a socially-distanced in-person or remote consultation.
When you look through my interior design portfolio, one thing that new clients often mention attracted them is my use of color combinations. I’m confident in using color boldly to transform interior spaces, and I can help you gain color confidence, too. Here’s a peek into my process.
Monochromatic Color Scheme
One of the simplest ways to be assured your colors will go together is by using variations of the same color, just in different values or tints, called a monochrome. Monochromatic designs often use neutrals such as grey or tan, but could just as easily be made with blue.
The key to this type of color combination is to create a balance by using several variations of your main color, then just a pop of a contrasting color to give it life, such as shades of light and dark grays accented with a touch of lime green.
In the kitchen above, designed for a San Francisco bachelor who wanted something timeless and chic, variations of grey upper and lower cabinetry with silver drawer pulls, stainless steel appliances, and sleek subway tiles work together to provide a soothing backdrop, so the fruit and green glass bottle on the counter really stand out, as would any fresh food you’re preparing and serving.
Another easy combination is complementary colors. Primary colors, which are yellow, red, and blue, are the building blocks for creating all other colors. Specific paint mixture combinations of two primary colors will create the secondary colors of either green, orange, or purple. A complementary color scheme is defined as a primary color matched with its secondary color shown directly across from it on the color wheel.
Pairing a primary with its complementary color creates a harmonious balance. For example, red and green, which we use often for Christmas and holiday traditions. Yellow and purple is bright and energetic, seen in sports teams and also as a trending interior design combination this year. Blue and orange is so popular in graphic design and color correction for film and television that there are whole YouTube essays about this combination, and why we’re attracted to it.
The Bay Area farmhouse kitchen above is a good example of blue and orange, where the orangey color of the wood stands in a for a true orange. It’s important to work with the dominant color and features in your home, to enhance the beauty instead of fighting it. This home has a very cabin-y feel with all the exposed knotty wood, but the blue color complements the wood comfortably, making it feel both homey and modern.
A more advanced combination is that of split complementary, where you select two colors that are one color apart from each other on the wheel, and then one directly across from those.
In the design above, chartreuse, teal, and pink combine beautifully to exude both calm and energy simultaneously. Below is an example of a split complementary scheme of red, orange, and pale turquoise, found in the chandelier, which also picks up the bluish undertones of the wall color.
In my own design below, lilac and fuchsia with a splash of yellow liven up foggy San Francisco days. Don’t forget that color has a strong effect on mood, so pick something you love to fill your home with joy.
If you want to use color boldly, work with Kimball Starr Interior Design! She creates beautiful homes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe. Contact her today for a socially-distanced in-person or remote consultation.
Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with many wonderful clients. There’s definitely a way to be good at it! Here’s how to have a successful collaboration with an interior design professional.
You may not know exactly what you want yet, or even what you don’t want, but it’s important to give me a place to start the conversation. Bring photos of rooms you love, designs you hate, colors that make you happy, and spaces that might work for you, with a little tweaking. Houzz is a great place to find and collect those photos, like 21st century clippings. Tearing pages out of magazines still works, too!
Prepare for Meetings
If I’ve asked you to choose between floor tiles, or discuss color schemes with your partner, please come to the meeting prepared with feedback on those items. It will save delays, which means it will cost you less for your customized designs.
I have a lot of experience in both envisioning change, and seeing it become reality. I understand people and their lifestyle needs, and can understand yours as well, after getting to know you. I may make suggestions that seem scary or off the mark to you at first, but I promise I have a good reason for proposing them. Try to be open to these ideas, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised! And, if something really doesn’t work for you, we’ll change it. It’s all about communicating and collaborating together to create YOUR home, after all.
Practice Good CommunicationSkills
If you don’t like something, please don’t be concerned you’ll offend me — tell me! Honest feedback is the only way we’ll arrive at the perfect space for you. I’ll listen and ask questions to make sure I understand, which can be helped by being clear and upfront with your opinions.
Bring All Stakeholders
If you want your partner or family members to be part of the decision-making process, by all means, bring them along! Nothing causes more delays than “I just need to check this with my spouse, who isn’t here today.” As you know, delays = higher cost, and potentially not having your dining room ready for the holidays.
While I know it can be difficult to make choices, in the end, you’re the only one who can do it, so find a decision-making process that works for you. Whether that’s putting paint colors on the wall to see how they look at different times of day, or having a pillow made in the proposed fabric so you can live with it for a couple weeks before committing to a full sofa, or asking your friends for their impressions, there’s no wrong way to arrive at the right answer for YOU. Be decisive and tell me your thoughts, so I can give you the best possible professional advice, and create the home of your dreams.
If you want an experienced designer, look no further than Kimball Starr Interior Design! She creates homes beloved across the San Francisco Bay Area and Lake Tahoe areas. Contact her today for a socially-distanced in-person or remote consultation!
As a designer, I’ve created a multitude of of built-in features, from window seats, to bookshelves, and even clever hidden storage elements. Today I’m sharing three of my favorite built-in residential features, before and after.
In this San Francisco loft, space is at a premium. My client wanted something cool and stylish, so I delivered the unexpected in this rolling bookcase that wraps around the circular stairs.
Now with a splash of orange inside the shelves, repeated in the alcove just outside, and a modern finish on the exterior of the sliding case and handrails, this built-in is sure to impress when revealed. The shape and movement are repeated in the hidden washer/dryer unit in our introductory photo of the loft’s kitchen, at top.
Window Seating Wow
In another client’s Bay Area condo, an underused window space felt unloved and empty.
With my redesign, now it’s a welcoming, comfortable window seat that can be used to read the morning paper, admire the view, or relax after a long day. The double-height of the window inspires star-gazing and cloud-watching!
Custom Storage Wall and Desk
This urban couple needed storage and organization to tame their newly-combined belongings.
And for that special touch, we built a custom corner desk that makes paying bills and writing letters a delight, surrounded by photos and happy memories.
Kimball Starr Interior Design creates inspired built-ins and custom cabinetry for homes throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Nevada. Contact her today for a consultation by phone, video chat or in-person with social distancing!