Design Discussion | Negative Space

Negative space can be a powerful design tool.  When used correctly, it brings a sense of calm to a space and actually puts the objects that are in the space into focus by drawing the eye toward it.  The act of well-done negative space is accomplished when someone understands the importance of editing.  In design, not every space always needs to be filled in order for the room to feel finished but understanding when there's something missing and when enough is enough is a delicate balance.

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Negative space works well when done right because it eliminates all of the distractions.  Oftentimes, it is a much more simplified version of layering and requires the viewer to step back and look at the space as a whole...even though, ironically, it brings items into focus.

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Negative space oftentimes thrives where asymmetry is present because whomever has accomplished the use of negative space has looked at the space as a big picture.  It sees the room as one pictures instead of becoming hyper focus on filling things up.  Wall space and ceiling space is seen as the backdrop for everything in the room so the way pieces of furniture in the middle of the room stand off the back wall affect what else is hung on the wall and where.


Negative can often be used to emphasize architectural details like windows and stairs but be careful because sometimes it can also highlight things you might not want in focus.  Just be sure your furniture doesn't detract from architectural details you might want to's ok not to crowd a room with furniture if it keeps the cool architectural details in focus.

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If you're still unsure about the benefits of negative space, just think about a bold black and white patterned tile or wallpaper or even fabric.  The black portion is the negative space and without it, there is no pattern!  Negative space is important!  Be sure that you're stepping back to look at the big picture each time to re-design your space.


Color Talk | 2018 Blue Hues

We know!  You're sick of grey...and beige...and grey beige.  You want color.  But you don't want to be overwhelmed by color so you're trying to figure out the best way to incorporate it without overdoing it.  Blue is a great color for a;,pst amy space.  Depending on the shade, ti can be dark and moody for a bedroom or light and airy for a common area like a great room or dining room.  Accoring to Houzz, there are certain go-to blue hues that are guaranteed to make the statement you want!

We still love muted blues with grey in them so Skylight by Farrow and Ball is a great option.  It can really work in common areas or bedrooms because the mix of blue and grey make it versatile.

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If you want to go with a little brighter that can be more bedroomy...although we've seen it used throughout entire homes, Retiring Blue by Sherwin Williams is a clear blue-green (mostly blue) that leaves your home feeling light and bright and almost beachy!

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This next blue is very mature and would be perfect for a master bathroom or even a guest room.  It has almost no green in it but isn't too powdery or baby-blueish like a lot of pale true blues.  It's just nice and calm--First Snowfall by Benjamin Moore,

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Going much more green and feeling super springy is Watermark by Behr.  Again, we see it as a bedroom/bathroom color but it's calm enough to  work in other spaces too.

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The perfect dining room color is Winter Ice by Benjamin Moore and we can't forget about one of our favorite go-tos---Silver Strand by Sherwin Williams.

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All-in-all, we consider blue to be a neutral and love mixing it in.  Blue is classic and can really work in almost any part of the home as long as it's paired with the right mix of other items.  It really is one of our favorite colors!

Cheating | Sometimes it's OK

Believe it or not, some parts of designing a space aren't so carefully planned out.  Sometimes, you just need "something" that works or "something" to complete a space because it's missing "something".  But it can be hard to pinpoint that "something".  And sometimes, it just needs to be filled.  It looks empty so it needs to be finished...somehow.  Well, there are certain designer go-tos that quickly and effectively accomplish this!

For starters, a big tall tree can do wonders for filling that empty corner.  Sometimes it's a dining room, kitchen nook, or even a formal living room but regardless of the space, greenery is always a good idea.  The nice thing about a big, tall tree is that it not only adds an organic element to the space but it adds height and visually fills a space about as much as another piece piece of furniture but for much less.  It can also look very sculptural which could function as an art piece int he space as well.


Another way to add height to a space is with a good floor lamp.  Floor lamps work similarly to tall tress in the way they add height and a sculptural element to a space.  They are a little more functional than a tree because they actually give light to a space, however, they can sometimes be harder to place because they have to be plugged in.  They're great filler pieces, though!


Add a book or stack of books and get an instant finishing detail!  Books are the never-endingly useful!  They can fill so many spaces in a room.  They work well for empty shelves, under vases or sculptures to give height.  They also work as a great base for a coffee table if you don't have a tray or even inside of the tray.  It's pretty much the designers go-to for accessorizing.  So don't get rid of those old books you don't read anymore.  Keep them and use them as filler!  You never know when one will come in handy.


Throw blankets are also great filler pieces.  They add more of a lived-in look that gives the visual que of comfort than the books, which are great filler pieces, but they still have their value.  Sometimes they're the pop of color a space needs or the filler for a basket, but a soft blanket can really go a long way in a room.


Just remember that rooms have layers.  These layers consist of elements that range in size from small accessories to major lighting.  Each piece works together for the whole but not every piece has to be rocket science!


Spruce it Up | Stairs

Staircases are one of those architectural details that often get neglected.  When designing or renovating a home, stairs are thought of as a functional area and aren't made special but there are really a lot of things that can be done to staircases to make them an interesting space.  

Let's start with stair treads.  They can either flow with the rest of the flooring or they can be a completely different material.  When deciding which direction you want to go, it is important to consider the location of your stairs.  Usually a staircase in the entryway needs to flow with the rest of the flooring, however, a back stairs or one tucked off to the side can definitely have it's own special pop!


Another option is to do something fun with the risers.  Even if the tread flows with the rest of the flooring, do a fun patterned tile on the riser to give your stairway a little unexpected pop.  One of our current favorite looks is doing a black and white patterned tile on the stair riser.


We can't forget about the balusters and handrail either!  One of the simplest ways to spruce up a stairway is to swap out the balusters and handrail.  There are tons of different options for both of these areas so just consider something that's practical for your particular stairway!


Finally, if you really just can't deal with any sort of constructions right now, you can simply add a runner to your stairs.  Runners are practical for protecting stair treads but they're also practical for safety purposes.  A runner will help absorb the sound of footsteps and also add traction underfoot for walking up and down the stairs which will help prevent slipping.


Try any or all of these things to spruce up your stairs and make them a functional architectural detail in your home!

Too Many Pillows | The Bed Making Post

When we install model homes, ones the biggest things that we spend our time and money on is bedding.  Since model homes are supposed to showcase a comfortable living space, it's important that all of the bedrooms have comfortable-looking, well-styled beds.  And part of accomplishing this is with....pillows!  I know, I know.  Some of you hate pillows.  They're annoying or take up unnecessary space...they're just something you have to move before you sleep.   But there really is something to be said about bed pillows and how they dress a bed that makes it look inviting.  This is also important because the bed is usually the focal point of a bedroom, so a bed that looks comfortable makes the room feel inviting.  Yes, it's a little extra work when you're making the bed, but it's worth it for your guests.

So how many pillow are really necessary for a bed?  Let's start with the functional side...sleeping pillows.  We usually say that sleeping pillows are the foundation.  If you're making a twin, full, or queen bed, one sleeping pillow per side is usually fine for styling.  If you're making a king bed, use king-size sleeping pillows that are a little longer.  However, if the bed will actually be slept in, put 2 on each side so that guests have the option of a second pillow if they want it.


The second step and pillow layer are the shams.  Shams are decorative pillows that typically aren't slept on but they add that extra fluff to the bed.  For anything smaller than a king, standard shams are fine, but if you're making a king bed it's important to either use 2 king shams or 3 euro shams (square 26" pillows).


After shams, the final layer is some sort of smaller decorative pillow (or pillows), depending on the size of a the bed.  A twin or full bed may be able to get away with one decorative pillow, although it will most likely look best if it's some sort of lumbar pillow to really balance out the bed.  Other than that, queen beds or king-sized beds will need at least 2 or more decorative pillows and sometimes more (ie. 2 medium-sized decorative pillows and a smaller accent pillow).  


All of these layers of pillow provide different heights and textures that help your eye move over the bed and across the rest of the room while also appealing to your senses and giving the bed a look of softness.


So the next time someone tries to tell you how useless pillows are, remind them that pillows actually sell beds and make bedrooms look comfortable so that must be worth something!