Living Spacious in Small Spaces – Step 2

Many of us, by choice or by fate, are living in smaller spaces.  My clients are scaling down or staying put and revamping to maximize their lives within a smaller foot print. As the owner of a very small first home and as an architect for many years, I’ve learned a few tricks that can work for you too! Let’s bring in the incredible power of natural light.

“Also marvelous in a room is the light that comes through the windows of a room and that belongs to the room. The sun does not realize how beautiful it is until after a room is made. A man’s creation, the making of a room, is nothing short of a miracle. Just think, that a man can claim a slice of the sun.”  Louis Kahn

A genius at using light as a key element in his designs, Kahn recognized our dependence on “…the touch of a finger to a switch.”  I invite you to join me in enlisting “the endlessly changing qualities of natural light, in which a room is a different room every second of the day” to enhance and enlarge our spaces.

white space

If you have the means to bring in light by cleverly replacing a slice of your roof with glass or adding new windows, please do so. Here I’ll show you how to maximize the natural light in your space through less intrusive and still highly effective methods.

All of the movable furnishings in this reclaimed barn are lifted off the ground on delicate frames. This allows precious day light to easily dance through the room. Even the stair to the loft above is formed of seemingly floating wooden treads that enhance and contribute to the bright atmosphere, instead of weighing it down. Tip: choose furnishings that are light on their feet.

white space

funky glamour new york city

Lighten up by saying buh bye to the age-old tradition of lining your furniture up against the windows and walls of every room. Even in a smallish space such as this, you can create an interesting and perfectly-suited-to-relaxing-and-entertaining seating area in the middle of a room. This trick lightens rooms by creating space for the light to roam and breathe. If space is an issue then move your furniture even a few inches from the walls for a smaller scale effect. Trust me, try it!  If privacy isn’t an issue then ditch the heavy draperies or replace them with sheer billowy drapes that keep your secrets, but not you, in the dark. Tip: create a light and airy atmosphere by moving furniture and heavy draperies away from the windows and walls.

white space

dining

Fortunately for all of us, day light has an incredible support team, of which my favorites are glass, mirrors, and metals. They all bring out the best in natural light, just in different ways. Glass, as in the shelves above, is day light’s brutally honest best friend. She lets her bestie shine through with only the slightest alteration.

STELLAR Console and Mirror designed by Jake PhippsMirrors are natural light’s press rep. They double her sparkle and always make her look good, even when she may be fading.

Architectural Digest mirrored table

Metals are like day light’s adoring mother. Always subtly promoting their brilliant off-spring, metals, dazzlingly paired with mirrors here, put light in, well, her best light. Tip: use glass, mirrors, and metals to enhance natural light.

white space

Parisienne charmer (8)

At last, this brilliant bath brings all the tricks together for a bright escape that glows. The floating angled tub is featured by the light splashing around it. A burnished metal vanity is light on its feet. A copper horn pendant’s glossy center glows without power. Brass lamps and chrome faucets show that a variety of metals is the spice of life.

Love to hear your tricks to lighten up your spaces.  Then share this on so your friends aren’t in the dark. Don’t miss Step 1 to Live Spacious.

Imagine the possibilities,

Denise

Simply Hot Fireplaces

Baby, it is cold outside!  If you’re feeling it too I bet your fireplace is working overtime. The function and style of fireplaces has advanced far beyond their humble origins. No longer destined to wear just brick (not that there’s any thing wrong with brick!), cozy up and see what the hottest modern fireplaces are wearing.

concrete faced full view fireplaceConcrete offers a variety of low maintenance finishes from raw to burnished to polished.  The surface lustre of highly polished concrete can reflect and amplify day light. Add recycled glass aggregate and hone the finish to create a sparkle that rivals the fire.

Mendota Hearth full viewLet the fire do the talking.  This full view fireplace by Mendota Hearth allows you to bask in the fire’s glow without any distraction. The fire base can be natural river rock or even glass. I’ll show you the glass below. The tantalizing burnt orange wall color leapt right from the flames.

Town and Country FireplaceTile lets you make a purely personal design statement…colorful, subdued, or even a monochromatic scheme as shown here.  Tile can also be very economical, and the large format tiles (5′ x 10′) available now can provide a seamless face in many spaces.

ImaginEco fireplace with mica wallIn this artist’s studio I used a concave brushed stainless steel fireplace with a glass pebble fire base.  The surrounding wall covering is mica, a shiny crystalline mineral, that glimmers like the fire.

Mendota Hearth steelCor-Ten steel seems perfectly suited to frame a fire, the force that enabled its creation. Also known as weathering steel, its durability and personality make it one of my favorite materials.

Stay cozy and share the warmth with your friends.

Imagine the possibilities,

Denise

Timeless Interior Design for Every Year

Happy New Year!  I wish you all a year filled with nature outside your window and shelter that inspires you.  I try to live in the present and avoid forecasting or living by trends.  So let’s start the new year with design elements that are timeless, nurturing, and always in style. Oh, and they’re gorgeous too!

Chic-Metal-Side-Table kateobriendsdotcom

Metallics reflect your personality and day light and add vibrancy to any space.  The movement as the light and shadows play around them is magical. Be fearless and mix them up to create a captivating balance of shiny and worn and gleaming and weathered.

Color Lovers Welcome

Color is always inspiring or nurturing or energizing or calming, whatever your heart desires! Close your eyes and visualize your favorite things and the colors within them.  Now transfer those colors to your walls or ease yourself in with colorful furnishings.

ImaginEco cork wall covering

Texture’s tactile qualities add depth and reality to rooms.  Here I used cork wall covering, with splashes of metallic copper running through it, creating soothing texture with a funky sparkle. Layer gossamer with ribbed and velvety with knotty, as nature does, to create a rich composition.

Bloch design glass fireplace 2

And there’s always glass – stunning and timeless in every incarnation. It’s one of light’s best friends as they enhance each other so well. Add clear glass tables and lamps to bring a bright airiness to any space.

Hudson_Furniture_“O”_BaseNo material touches each of us as wood does.  It affects us most in its living form while providing shade and shelter and year round beauty.  When crafted by artisans and gracing our home as an integral part of our lives, wood fills our innate need for nature. Bring it inside with reclaimed wood or with wood that’s certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  Always choose woods with natural finishes.

Share the info and the love with your friends…pass it on!

Imagine the possibilities,

Denise