May 20, 2013
This past week might have been like any other week. I spent much of my time talking to interior designers, furniture manufacturers, builders and architects about current conditions and industry trends, preparing to write several articles. But it wasn’t like any other week. I was distracted.
I’ve written before about the fact that coaching youth soccer has been my passion for the past 15 years. I say that it keeps me young, although my knees would disagree. My team was victorious a week ago in the first round of the league tournament and throughout the week, my thoughts were on the possibility of capturing the championship that has eluded me all these years. As I wrote articles about the influence of technology in kitchen renovations and interior designers creating unique environments, my mind kept drifting to the upcoming game.
Sadly, winning the championship this past weekend was not meant to be. Everyone played well, but we were not the better team. Easily I could return to completing those articles that I had been working on. I decided to take some time over the weekend to think about the lessons I have learned from coaching these 10 and 11 year old boys.
So what have they taught me while I have shared my love of the game with them? Choose to be a part of something that’s bigger than you are. Never underestimate the value of praise. Get involved with something that brings you joy. Enjoy the moment. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember to have fun. Great lessons for life beyond the soccer.
This year’s team was special and I will miss those that are aging out. I admit to shedding a tear or two when the final whistle blew. Not only were they talented, they had heart, willing each other to do more and play better. It’s a tradition that I give each player a nickname when they join the team. After two years, I sometimes even forgot their real names! Much thanks for a great season to Hoover, Gooch, Bon Jovi, Dopey, Midas, Gumby, Recess, Curly, Kareem, 13, Dude, Too Tall, Bud, Tardy, and Cuz.
I said last fall that after 15 years of coaching, this spring would be my last season. It’s a good thing I’m allowed to change my mind. Come fall, you will find me back on the sidelines, directing plays, arguing every now and then with the referee, and still chasing that championship. During the week, I’ll continue to write about things like the Pantone Color of the Year, trends in furniture design and housing starts, but I’ll always be looking forward to Saturday mornings on the soccer field.
May 1, 2013
Building the home of your dreams does not happen by chance. Those wistful thoughts must first be transformed into a detailed set of plans. Asheville architect Amy Conner-Murphy of ACM Design shares with us her insights on ensuring that your mountain dream home becomes a wonderful reality.
Images Courtesy of ACM Design ©
Asheville and the surrounding area are well known for their beautiful mountains – and for many, it is the ideal location for their dream home or weekend getaway. Designing a home in the mountains of North Carolina presents many challenges when considering the elevation, terrain and environmental components of our area. Site analysis is a key preliminary step taken by architects – analyzing the site, slope, site orientation, sun angles, and access. The outcome of the site analysis will greatly affect how a home is designed so that it takes full advantage of a particular property.
It’s a common misconception that one can purchase basic house plans to work on any lot. In the mountains, plans most often will require custom alterations to work for a specific piece of property. These modifications can become quite extensive, depending upon the conditions of the property. The sloped terrain in the mountains requires many homes to be built on multiple levels, with daylight basements to overcome slope factors. It’s likely your mountain property will require excavation to correctly prepare your lot for the home of your dreams. Experienced assessment of a mountain site to minimize the amount of excavation is a critical first step in minimizing overall construction costs.
When designing a custom mountain home, it is important to hire an architect with a background in residential construction with experience designing for our mountain terrain and elevations. People are drawn to WNC for our fantastic mountain views, and often fall in love with a particular property because of that view. View properties are generally priced at a premium, so it is wise to consult an experienced architect for a site consultation before your purchase. This simple step could save many complications and excessive costs during the design and construction process.
Considering the solar orientation of a property and how that will affect the design and long-term maintenance of a home are also important factors in selecting a property for purchase. Taking full advantage of southern exposure is an excellent way for your home to reap the benefits of natural light and passive solar features. Your architect’s understanding of both the summer and winter solar orientations of your property will be important when designing certain details of your home, such as window placements and eave design.
Other important considerations in selecting a mountain property are the water and sewer sources. Is there access to public water or sewer or will drilling a well and installing a septic system be required? Many communities in Western North Carolina do not have access to city water and sewer. Many times these utilities are handled individually by the property owner residents, but in some cases, the neighborhood provides access to private shared water and sewer resources for the homes in that development. If a well is present on a property available for purchase, it is prudent to consult a professional to assess the existing conditions to ensure sufficient water is available, prior to purchase of the property. Due to seasonal and climatic changes, the capacity of a well varies over time and occasionally requires additional work to ensure adequate service.
April 29, 2013
The Spring 2013 High Point Furniture Market concluded this past week. Having grown up in the Triad area of our state, I definitely take pride in the fact that trend setting styles in home furnishings and accessories are revealed twice a year at High Point. Charlotte interior designer, Anita Holland, of Anita Holland Interiors, tells me that going to Market is an integral element in applying creativity and freshness to her projects. Always on the hunt during Market for well designed products, quality trends and exciting color palettes, we thank Anita for once again taking the time to share the following thoughts with North Carolina Design regarding a few of her showroom visits at the Spring 2013 High Point Market.
Spring Market 2013 was stimulating and contagious. Furniture, accessories, and lighting were classic, with an edge of sophistication, well designed finishes, and exquisite details. Through the course of the day I saw finishes that included gold, iron, mirrored, lacquered, reclaimed woods, concrete and stone.
Two hours at Hickory Chair Furniture was a perfect way to start the day. I always seem to immediately gravitate to Suzanne Kasler’s classic styles. In the above two images, the abundance of white in lacquer, fabrics, wood, and accessories is a signature look for Suzanne that is also timeless.
Also from Hickory Chair, Alexa Hampton’s use of bold color was an unexpected spectacular backdrop for the collection. I never thought I’d say this, but I think that citrus orange is the new neutral. It unified the entire room, serving as the perfect canvas upon which everything popped and everything balanced. It was incorporated into the designs with brighter whites and chocolate browns that were classic looking.
More subdued neutral palettes anchored the architectural detailing in these adjoining rooms at Hickory Chair (below). The horizontal decorative trim and the fretwork paneled doors were simple yet sophisticated. Well designed rooms in neutral tones will always be in style.
After visiting Hickory Chair, Emerald Green, the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year welcomed us to Baker Furniture. In the few years since my last appointment at the showroom, Baker has made a strong leap into transitional and contemporary design, while still maintaining their signature classical traditional styles. I found the expanded selection to be exciting, and look forward to incorporating it into future projects.
Baker has beautifully recreated select pieces from the Tony Duquette Collection that I very much like, including the chairs (above) and the handsome sculptured gold leaf mirror (below). An iconic designer whose work spanned several decades, I find it also interesting that his talents also led him to win a Tony on Broadway for Best Costume in the original production of Camelot.
The striking room with the incredible painted mural by artist Richmond Burton (below) of New York is an example of the new path that Baker has forged. It is a wonderful backdrop for the furniture in the room, which is part of Baker’s Laura Kirar Collection.
The dilemma every designer faces during Market is that there is only so much time and ever so much to see. Armed with a list of client needs that included furniture, lighting and accessories, we covered as much ground as possible in one day. Giving you just a few highlights of the day has once again been my pleasure.
The Thomas Pheasant quote painted on the wall of the Baker Showroom seems to be an excellent way to close.
April 22, 2013
Ahhh, April in High Point, can only mean one thing – Furniture Market! Just as designers from across the country are converging on the Furniture Capital, I had the pleasure of connecting with Kim Shaver, the Vice President of Marketing Communications at Hooker Furniture. I always look forward to Kim’s insight about what we can expect to see at the Spring Market, which runs from April 20 – 25, 2013.
Emerald fretwork chest
All images Courtesy of Hooker Furniture ©
According to Kim, color once again is taking center stage. “From Paris to Prada to High Point, fashion at Market is bursting and blossoming with color and pattern,” she notes. “What you will find are brilliant greens and blues, vibrant yellows and citrines. Even the white is bright. The three families that are the strongest are the grays, the blues and the greens, and you’ve got many variations of each.”
Being fashion forward at the Spring Market means that there is a direct correlation between the runway and what we are seeing in furniture. Kim explains that there is really no lag time in connecting the two. “It used to be that there was maybe a year before you would see apparel trends showing up in furniture, and now it’s almost simultaneous. We are very intentional about that at Hooker, We borrow right away from apparel, handbags, belts and jewelry. We’ll take a belt buckle or a clasp that was literally just seen on a handbag to the factory and say ‘let’s make that into hardware.’”
The upholstered furnishings this year display large scaled and vivid ikats, watercolors, graphics and zigzags. The Hooker collections reflect the popularity of animal skin fabrics as well as reptile pattern case goods. “This Sam Moore accent chair (pictured above) sports a new Emerald finish in recognition of Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2013,” says Kim. “The Emerald jewel toned green finish, combined with a leopard animal skin fabric, is right on trend.”
I very much like how Hooker has mixed wood finishes and wood species in their Corsica and Palisade Collections. It’s a nice way to establish an eclectic look in the bedroom, dining room or living room. “The Corsica Collection creates a casual European look. It mixes a light, almost reclaimed finish with a dark espresso – yet both have a wire brush finish, creating a tactile, casual appeal,” Kim notes. “The Palisade Collection features an exotic curly maple with walnut patterned veneers. The two woods combine to create a look that is both traditional and also transitional.”
Thank you Kim, for giving us “the skinny” on the Spring 2013 High Point Market. The pictures are a visual feast.
April 11, 2013
The buildup and buzz in the month of April here in North Carolina has always been about The High Point Furniture Market. Designers from across the country make their way in late April to the Triad to discover what’s new in the realm of interior design, home furnishings and accessories. Well, this year you’ll also find big doings over in Greensboro at that same time, which will certainly have those designers making a side trip to the “Gate City.”
In case you haven’t heard, the Junior League of Greensboro 2013 ShowHouse will coincide with the start of the Spring High Point Market. Billed as“Greensboro’s Grandest House,” Adamsleigh is the 2013 ShowHouse. Designed by Winston-Salem architect Luther Lashmit, the 33 room mansion was built in 1931 for High Point textile magnate John Hampton “Hamp” Adams, co-founder of Adams-Millis Corporation, the first company in High Point to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The mansion will showcase the creative talents of numerous interior designers from across the state as well as several well known national designers, such as Suzanne Kasler and Eric Cohler.
A few of our Participants from North Carolina Design are involved in the house. Wilmington interior designer Debby Gomulka is designing a Guest Bedroom and Bath. Most spaces require collaboration with a number of key individuals. Decorative Painter Nathan Wainscott, of Inspire By Color, added decorative finishes to the ceiling and the walls of these spaces. I love Nathan’s ability to create light and texture as well as his ability to evoke the desired atmosphere. Ceilings, walls or furniture, Nathan works his magic on any surface.
You know I am a big fan of Traci-Zeller. Traci is teaming up with fellow Charlotte interior designer, Lisa Mende. Together the duo is making wonderful things happen in The Gentleman’s Dressing Room. I spoke with Tracy about their vision for the space. “We want to create the feel of a men’s bespoke suit. This was a gentleman that was used to the finest things, and we want the room to convey that.”
The Dressing Room is going to be a visual display of distinctive detail that would befit the original homeowner, “Hamp” Adams. I love the fact that the custom made wallcovering for the space, which came from Sarah And Ruby Design Studio, has an elevation of the house taken from the original architect’s renderings. How creative! This only begins to describe to room.
Patricia Van Esschel of PVE Design did a spectacular rendering for Lisa and Tracy of what the Gentleman’s Dressing Room will look like once it is complete. She also did a beautiful rendering of the exterior of Adamsleigh. Patricia is a wonderfully talented artist! Thank you Tracy for allowing me to share the renderings. I also offer my thanks to Nathan for letting me share a few images taken around the estate, giving readers a just a hint of its grandeur.
Mark your calendars now. The Junior League of Greensboro 2013 ShowHouse will be open from April 20, 2013 – May 5, 2013. You can meet the designers at a special event on Friday April 26th, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. The house will also be featured in the July issue of Traditional Home Magazine.
I hope you will make the trip. I know I plan to!
April 3, 2013
Information about a really cool design competition just crossed my desk and I wanted to share the details. So … Attention architects, designers, builders, landscapers, interior designers and students of North Carolina. The North Carolina Society of The American Institute of Building Design just recently announced their first annual “North Carolina’s Finest” design competition. This competition is open to anyone in North Carolina involved in the design or building of a specific project completed after January 2010.
Images Courtesy of KDH Residential Design ©
I contacted Kevin Holdridge, of KDH Residential Design, who is the current President of the North Carolina Society of AIBD. He explained that the contest will definitely showcase the design talent of North Carolina. According to the details Kevin provided, up to two firms may team up to enter. There are several Categories: Custom Homes (four sizes broken down by heated square footage), Renovation/Addition (1 Under $150K / 1 Over $150K), Outdoor Living/Landscape (1 Under $100K / 1 Over $100K), and Concept/Published. There is also a Student Project and a Green Project.
You do not have to be a member of AIBD to enter. I, for one, am looking forward to later this year when the winners will be revealed. For more information on the “North Carolina’s Finest” design competition, including qualifications, fees and deadlines, you can contact Kevin at: email@example.com.
For the home shown here, Kevin Holdridge, of KDH Residential Design, received First Place Custom Luxury Honors in the American Residential Design Awards which were conducted by the American Institute of Building Design in 2012.
March 21, 2013
Ask any interior designer about the most exciting and challenging aspects of their work, and the photo shoot ranks near the top. Over the years, designers have relayed to me their good experiences as well as their colossal disappointments in having their projects photographed. I recently sat down with Raleigh photographer Tad Davis, of Tad Davis Photography, getting his thoughts on how to ensure the success of the interior design or architectural photo shoot.
Images Courtesy of Tad Davis Photography ©
Tad explains that the first thing a designer, builder or architect should do is their home work. “You can always ask other professionals within your network who they know. It is an absolute must, however, to go to the Internet and study the portfolios of local photographers. If you like what you see, that’s a good measure of the quality that you will receive.”
Ask For References
Tad explains that photography is a critical investment in your business, and designers or architects shouldn’t be afraid to ask for – and to check references. “You will not only get an understanding about the quality of their photography, but by asking the right questions, you will find out about their promptness to appointments, ability to work with others and turnaround times of their work – important attributes in a good photographer,” Tad says.
Tad advises builders, architects and designers to take the time to prep for their photo shoot. “The more ready you are, the more your photographer will be able to immediately begin working, and continue working from the moment they arrive – setting up, lighting the room and composing each shot,” he explains. This may involve a preliminary visit on your part to your client’s house so you know what is needed to “fluff” each room being photographed. It also means that you should be prepared in advance of the time your photographer is arriving.
The best photo shoots are a result of collaboration between client and photographer. “While the client is the director so to speak, the photo shoot is an opportunity for collaboration in creativity. As you share ideas, together you are able to achieve something greater,” says Tad. The unsuccessful photo can occur when a photographer refuses to listen or the client fails to communicate their vision. “My experience allows me to offer suggestions based on your vision.”
Make The Viewer One With The Image
According to Tad, “Your photographs are an opportunity for you to share your creative vision as a designer or architect, or highlight your artistry and craft as a builder. One of the best ways to do this is by photographing the space so that the viewer has the experience of being in the room, rather than feeling that they are on the outside looking in.” This allows the quality of the design and details of the craftsmanship to stand out.
With these insightful tips, you are on your way ensuring that your next professional photo shoot is a successful and positive experience.
March 5, 2013
Building a home from the ground up is one of the most exciting projects that a homeowner can undertake. Raleigh interior designer, Eddie Rider, of Eddie Rider Designs, understands that the sheer number of decisions that must be made during this process can be very overwhelming. We spoke with Eddie to learn more about how a designer’s input during the design/build phase helps homeowners achieve a beautiful and cohesive design.
Images Courtesy of Eddie Rider Designs ©
As a designer, Eddie takes ownership of the project from start to finish. “I‘m extremely hands-on,” he concedes. “I’m involved with everything. I’m on the job getting dirty. I’m hanging light fixtures, arguing with vendors, and making sure the stain on the floor is the exact right color. The builder’s job is to build the home. My job is to make sure it’s functional, pretty, and suited to the homeowner’s style and needs.”
For Eddie, the design process begins with the budget. “Once we all sit down and determine how much it’s going to cost to build the house, we can figure out what we get to spend on the really cool stuff, like the flooring, lighting, plumbing fixtures, cabinets and appliances,” he explains. “After that, we get to go on what amounts to the best shopping spree in the whole wide world.” Eddie’s involvement allows homeowners to make lasting selections that meet the design objective. “It is far less expensive to choose the right materials the first time than it is to remove and replace materials after the home is complete.”
When it comes to making selections, Eddie welcomes input from his clients. “We visit showrooms and review samples. They can send me anything that inspires them, whether it’s travel photos or things they’ve pinned on Pinterest. They can choose to incorporate existing furniture. The challenge is to keep continuity. It’s my responsibility to make sure every item works together and fits the style, flow and color palette of the home.”
Equally important to selection is space planning. “I have to work out where everything should go,” Eddie explains. “I take into account function, dimensions, proportion and scale, and make sure it all works.” He also collaborates with vendors to ensure the home’s functional elements are optimally placed. “I meet with the electrician to determine electrical placement and the heating and cooling guy to work out where the vents go, and so on. There’s a lot of compromise. The HVAC guy may not worry about the AC vent blowing the drapes up, but I do.”
In the end, Eddie stresses that it’s all about satisfying the client. “Details matter,” he affirms. “This is my clients’ home. When I shut the door and leave, they have to be happy with the project.”
February 25, 2013
If you ask Kevin Holdridge about universal design, he’ll tell you that it’s about much more than wider doorways, lowered cabinets and wheelchair-accessible rooms. For the Charlotte residential designer and principal of KDH Residential Design in Charlotte, it has everything to do with providing comfort and ease for his clients’ present and future needs, and making sure that they live in a beautiful, wonderful space. As a universal design expert, Kevin anticipates those current and future needs in ways that would never occur to most of us. We talked to Kevin to find out some of the finer details of his design process.
Images Courtesy of KDH Residential Design ©
Kevin is keenly aware of his clients’ need to aesthetically enjoy their space. “I always try to be subtle,” he explains. “You shouldn’t be able to tell just by looking that a house is designed to accommodate mobility issues. It shouldn’t look industrial in any way. It should just look like a beautiful home.”
In the featured home here, Kevin accomplishes the balance between form and function with some clever amenities. “We added a big, wide, meandering sloping walkway that looks like a courtyard space rather than a ramp,” he notes. “In the bathroom, the shower is open and curbless. We added a picture window overlooking a zen garden to bring the outdoors in. Also, transom windows race around the whole house and let in a lot of natural light. Natural light is especially important for those with vision impairments.”
The wall color and flooring choices were also made with the visually impaired in mind. “Universal design tends to have open concept floor plans. Using high-contrast colors from room to room—stone floors in one room and wood floors in another, for example–can help a person with vision problems discern which room they’re in.”
Kevin added some unexpected and thoughtful details to help with mobility issues as well. “The whole house is designed for accessible one-level living so that you’d never need to go to another floor,” he notes. “There are no steps, and the entrances are zero threshold. The back patio can easily be accessed and enjoyed by anyone. There’s no walk-in closet. All of the closet function happens in the bathroom, using pull-out drawers.”
“In the living area, we added a flex space with a wet bar for entertaining. The wet bar features a big TV that’s wired for the internet. That way, the homeowners and their guests can enjoy looking at photos and watching videos. No one has to be segregated from the crowd because they lack mobility.”
For Kevin, it all comes down to the finer details and creature comforts. “Your home is your sanctuary,” he notes. “If you experience physical challenges, and your home is designed to help you meet them, it’s just one less thing to have to worry about.”
In 2012, the home featured in this article received First Place Custom Luxury honors in the American Residential Design Awards (3,001 – 4,000 s.f.) which were conducted by the American Institute of Building Design. Sharing in this award with KDH Residential Design was builder, McSpadden Custom Homes.
February 25, 2013
If you look in my closet, you can tell that I love color. I am drawn to things that make a beautiful splash. While I recognize that not everyone is drawn to bright colors, I believe that patterns have the ability to put the personality in a wardrobe – or an interior. Today we hear from Anita Oates, principal of the Raleigh interior design firm, Otrada L.L.C., concerning pattern as an integral aspect of design.
Pattern is a design element that has been used to decorate faces, clothing, homes, furniture, and art since the beginning of man. Symbols often had meaning and displayed position, family heritage, or cultural distinctions around the globe. Today, pattern still plays an important role in our daily lives to evoke excitement and visual drama. It creates tension on the eye which translates to the brain as making a statement. We understand the need for pattern when selecting an outfit, but what about your home? Are you aware of the pattern in your rugs, wall coverings, artwork, and fabrics? Do you know what it is saying to the unconscious mind? Here are 5 characteristics to evaluate pattern the next time you’re out shopping with your designer.
Organic Pattern – Organic patterns often mimic the imperfect shapes and lines of nature. They may have curvilinear lines like the waves of the ocean washing ashore or the “stripes” of a zebra hide. Floral motifs are also common in organic patterns. Feelings evoked by these patterns are: Fluidity, movement, nature, and change.
Symmetrical Patterns – These patterns are exactly the same when cut down the middle. They can be repeated over and over again with distinct accuracy. They may include straight, curved, or broken lines, as well as circles. Feelings associated are: Rigidity, balance and harmony.
Geometric Patterns – These include patterns that incorporate the geometric shapes: square, diamond, rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, pentagon, hexagon, octagon. The scale of the repeated pattern may be small or large. It may even have several patterns within an overall pattern. Terms associated with geometric patterns: traditional, historic and familiar.
High Contrast Patterns – These patterns use light and dark hues to make the pattern pronounced. They tend to be more dramatic and demand your attention. It’s a great pattern choice if you want to make a bold statement.
Small scale vs. Large Scale patterns – Small scale patterns tend to read as a single color when viewed from across a room. For example, a blue and gray geometric pattern up close may also read as a duller gray solid from far away. Beware of viewing patterns from 2′ AND 10′! Large scale patterns are wonderful to use on walls, sofas, and drapery as long as you have enough space to make the repeat work. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a cut off pattern and the look will be incomplete.
Images Courtesy of Otrada L.L.C.
Common patterns today include: herringbone, chevron, ikat ( pronounced e-kot), tie-dye, wood grain, stripe, plaid, medallion, basket weave, running bond, zig zag, houndstooth, and quatrefoil to name a few. Are there any patterns that you see and love? Could you incorporate any into your next design project? Hopefully, you can talk with your designer in more specific terms about patterns that you enjoy.
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