Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Autumn Color Inspiration: The Art of Gustav Klimt

In need of some color scheme inspiration? Art is your answer! 

If you are loving the gold and bronze trend that has taken over the design world and soaking up what's left of autumn before the polar vortex and Santa Clause totally take over, then you probably also love (or should love) the art work of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918). Klimt's art just feels autumnal as it is warm and saturated with various shades of gold and bronze and complimented with pops of red, orange, and olive green, making his work the perfect pallet to inspire your decor. I love the way he uses tiny geometric shapes to create his figures, they give his work an intense visual texture and reminds me of an intricate mosaic. 

All paint swatches shown are Sherwin-Williams. Enjoy!
art source
art source
And for my family and friends up North who have already had to break out the snow boots here's a Klimt-inspired pallet to remind you of Spring!
art source
Have a great Tuesday!
-Griffin

Thursday, November 20, 2014

FAN-Tastic! Choosing a Stylish Ceiling Fan for Our Bonus Room

Tuesday, I left you with a cliffhanger. A real nail biter. 

To recap, I had the opportunity to partner with online retailer Del Mar Fans and Lighting to select a ceiling fan for our bonus room. I'd whittled my choices down to three, from the more than 3,000 fans available on their site.  The InnesClarity and Inlet made the final cut, each had a 52" blade span, a low profile, and sleek design. But to be quite honest, the final choice was obvious.

Of course, before I share my final selection I think it's important to have a closer look at a more traditional ceiling fan because you can't truly appreciate the beauty of the fan I chose, until you've compared it to your run-of-the-mill ceiling fan. Plus, I've learned from reality TV that you've got to wait until your audience is really good and irritated with your obnoxious build-up before you make the final reveal. It's a formula for success.

So WITH further ado, I present to you...
My living room fan. 

It's a builder-grade beauty. A jumble of brushed nickle, wood, and glass.  Sure, it does a bang-up job of keeping us cool and circulating air but with roughly 21 separate components colliding to make up this fan (yeah, I counted), it's anything but sleek. 

Now compare that to…
Oh the Monte Carlo Clarity. 

It's everything my builder-grade fan is not. It's a singular unit. Visually speaking, it's made up of just four components: three fan blades and a cylindrical light, all fluidly working together, instead of a jumbled mess of different parts and materials.

I love how the crisp, squared fan blades wrap around the cylindrical light, elegantly combining the functions of light fixture and fan. 
Its design is sturdy, able to withstand rambunctious play sure to happen in our bonus room, but it's not bulky or clunky.
I have come to believe that really good design is obvious. You look at a product or space that is well designed and think to yourself "Why didn't I think of that?" Because the solution is not complex it's concise and to-the-point, it just makes sense.  And in that simplicity, in that clarity of design, is beauty. This fan embodies that.

It's true, this fan is no Chicago Bears fan, but even The Man is pleased. And as our onsite handyman he was even more pleased with how easy it was to install. It took him just under two hours to install. Had he had some previous fan installation experience and not had a certain little helper "helping" it probably would have taken even less time.
With the fan it place, it inspired us to finally get some trim up around the windows and door, paint the ceiling, touch up the walls, and install the blinds. Now all that's left is to make some mini closet doors and a whole lot of decor (check out my plans here). You can see my latest furniture finds, some thrifted cane and metal tube chairs, for our table desk.
The white fan enhances the airy open feel of the space and plays up the white trim and table. Here's another look at the fan in action. I love how the blades disappear and all you are left with is the cylindrical light fixture.
This fan proves that it is possible for ceiling fan to balance function and beauty, its even up to the job of focal point, typically only reserved for decorative light fixtures.

My experience with Del Mar was FAN-tastic (what can I say? That pun was inevitable). They had plenty of fans to choose from, their site had a wealth of information to aid making an educated decision on the best fan for our space, and the ease of shopping online and having a fan show up on your doorstep just a few days, later can't be beat!

As for the threats I mentioned Tuesday, The Man has moved on to the art. If I don't hang it, he will. 

So, you can find me hanging art this weekend.

-Griffin

DISCLAIMER: Del Mar Fans provided the fan, ALL opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Fan Ultimatum

The Man has been threatening me.

No, I promise this post is not a cry for help, for THAT would be no joke. But his threats have lacked humor none-the-less as they sound a little something like this:

"If you don't pick a ceiling fan for the Bonus Room, I will."

Imagine my horror, particularly if you had heard some of his decorative ideas for the space. They involved a strictly orange and navy blue color scheme (for our oh-so-disappointing Chicago Bears) and an overstuffed recliner that looked a little like this. I can only imagine the type of fan he'd choose...
Despite how frightening this threat was (particularly considering the type of season the team is having), he was justified in making it, as I'd been dragging my feet in the matter.  Last November The Man and his buddy made major progress in the Bonus Room leaving just a few items left to finish and I'd started making plans for its decor. Unfortunately, the prospect of selecting a fan left me a bit uninspired thus things in the space were at a bit of a standstill.
While I love an opportunity to enhance our home's decor one might say that ceiling fans are the red-headed step child of the decor world and should be exchanged whenever possible for the visually more appealing decorative light fixture. But living in the South, I feel pretty adamant about having a fan in a large room like this to help combat the excessive heat, "my God the HEAT!" (channeling some Elaine Benes here).  Plus, our bonus room runs a few degrees hotter in the summer and a few degrees cooler in the winter than the rest of our house so the added circulation provided by a fan is essential. Clearly, the functional benefits of having a fan in this room outweigh the fact that it can be hard to find a fan that can hold its own as a design element.

Thank goodness the online retailer Del Mar Fans and Lighting came to my rescue just as the frequency of The Man's threats were increasing. They approached me for a potential collaboration and I jumped at the opportunity. I proposed we make our Bonus Room ceiling fan happen.

Del Mar not only has a wide selection of ceiling fans but their website also has a wealth of information to help me choose the right fan for our bonus room.

Here's a round up of fun facts that I learned from their Bright Ideas Blog regarding the economic, comfort, and environmental benefits of having a ceiling fan:

1. Ceiling Fans consume 97% less energy than air conditioner units and can potentially result in as much as a $500/year savings. [1]
2. A counter clockwise running fan in the summer promotes cooling [2].
3. A clockwise running fan in the winter promotes heating as heat rises so the fan pushes that hot air down to us occupants, just call me Mrs. Science.[2]
4. Fans don't cool rooms, they cool people, so they only need to be operated when people are in the room [2].

I knew fans kept me comfortable but now I had the facts (and science) to back me up.

The site also helped me select the right type of fan for our space. Room size, blade span, and fan profile were the key ingredients. Our room is just over 300 square feet and has a rather low eight foot ceiling so a fan with a 52" blade span and a low profile that hugs the ceiling is ideal. We would also need a fan with a light and it had to have a sturdy design as there is bound to be rough housing and rambunctious play in the space.

As I mentioned, Del Mar has a huge selection of fans (more than three thousand!) so where I was once uninspired at the thought of selecting a fan from the limited options on display at my local big box hardware store, I was now armed with knowledge AND had a plethora of fabulous options to peruse at my leisure from home.

I narrowed three thousand fans down to three that met our functional needs and more importantly, they looked good doing it.
Inlet, Clarity, Ines
Since everyone loves a good cliff hanger, comeback Thursday to find out which ceiling fan I selected for our bonus room and if The Man's threats have ceased.

Any guesses on which fan made the cut?

-Griffin

DISCLAIMER: Del Mar Fans provided the fan, ALL opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Etsy Shop to Watch: Quartertwenty

I was perusing Etsy looking at shelf brackets (I have big dreams for the shelving in our bonus room) when I came across the shop Quartertwenty and these fabulous wall stirrups.
The brackets paired with a wood shelf create such a great mix of warm wood and cold steel. I love the thick slab of wood and razor thin metal doing all the supporting. I just had to check out the rest of the shop and oh how I was pleasantly surprised.

Based out of Portland, Quartertwenty, produces a wide variety of products from bottle openers to skateboards. I love objects composed of mixed materials (I can thank my Mother for this preference) and the beauty of their pieces is how metal, which is always present, is paired with other materials. Here's a look at some of the shop's best home products:
images via Quartertwenty
1. Hey Design World! The toilet paper holder deserves more respect, it's hard to find one that emphasizes great design while meeting the functional demands of its job. The Holy Roller might just be the answer as steel is folded to perfection ensuring a sleek look and ease of use.
2. I love the Giddy-Up Stool, a white folded metal base topped with a sling leather seat. Aside from mixing metal and leather, this solution is direct and to the point, no extra bells and whistles needed.
3. You just don't see enough I-Beams used in furniture and when you do they most definitely are not executed as elegantly as this wood bench, with a duel personality.
4. Wood sandwiches metal prongs to create the Coat Rake.  Another to-the-point solution, often the best design solutions are the most obvious and have you asking yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?" How foolish we are at times for over thinking things, the answer needn't be complex.
5. The Hatchet Stool has handles to make moving the weighty stump a bit easier, how thoughtful!

Each of these products seamlessly blends metal with an organic material (wood, leather, even toilet paper!), it's a study in contrasts. More importantly, Quartertwenty's products are designed as an answer to a design problem where form and function are of equal importance.

-Griffin

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Seeing Circles

IMAGE 1: Weekday Carnival , IMAGE 2: Desire to Inspire, IMAGE 3: The Design Files , photo by Eve Wilson, IMAGE 4: Desire to Inspire
I love spotting mini-trends, Tuesday it was black wood, today it's circles. I figure something semi-productive should come of my time perusing the vast sea of design blogs while nursing before the sun comes up. I'm keeping it simple at least for now because I'm still trying to figure out a blogging routine now that Teddy's been added to the mix.

So circles it is!

From seating to wall art, to my absolute favorite application of the shape a black and white dart-board-like headboard, I'm seeing circles. I love how each of the applications above are relatively similar in size yet totally different. Some are hollow and wiry others are solid and colorful. There's no limits to what a simple shape can do to your space.

-Griffin

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Black Wood: Beautiful and Rebellious

IMAGE 1:  Remodilista, IMAGE 2: The City Sage, IMAGE 3: Bolig,
From paneling to posts folks are painting wood black and they aren't looking back.

We love using wood in interiors because of its inherent warmth yet this bold gesture totally eliminates the warmth in exchange for enhanced texture. This is most definitely not the answer in all situations but for low quality wood with a ton of texture black paint makes this a beautifully rebellious design solution.

-Griffin

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Design Itch Turns TWO and A Round-Up of My Design Tips and Tricks

Ahhh it's good to be back writing on the 'ol blog, and by ol' I mean the blog turned two-years-old last week, and I went ahead and re-upped my domain name, so the world wide web will have to put up with The Design Itch for at least another year (I know what you're thinking "isn't there a cream for that?").
I do plan to scale things back, at least temporarily as I adjust to this mom-of-two thing. Luckily, I'm being eased into the new gig with an oh-so-sleepy newborn boy (seriously, he's the most exhausted human I've ever met) and Frances is back in pre-school a few days a week. Of course, like all infants his sleep schedule doesn't align with the 8 hour stretch at night that I prefer to dedicate to shut-eye and three-year-olds get a little unruly if you nap during their playtime, who knew?! But I'll figure it out... eventually!
So, If you are looking for me, you will find me HERE most Tuesdays and Thursdays and dog lovers take note, I'm also talking dogs, yes dogs, over at the If It Barks Blog once a week. I thought it'd be fun to diversify my writing a bit.

To celebrate the blogiversary I decided to compile 15 Design Itch posts where I dispense some of my very best design advise (so far). "Best", may be a stretch but I offer ideas, suggestions, tips, and tricks to make the most of your home's decor. So if you are in the mood to peruse (maybe the boss is on vacation) click on the links below:


And seriously, thanks for stopping by!
-Griffin
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