16 Jun 2013

interior-design-living-013I wrote last week about how often circulation spaces (stairways and hallways) are often over looked in the decoration of a home.  I wanted to expand on that and show you another example of a stair case that was changed from bland to “love it!” by adding detail.  In this case, what was once plain drywall was embellished with the addition of moldings, wallpaper and paint to transform the space.  This back stairway is used almost exclusively by the homeowners and is a fitting path of travel to their beautiful bedroom suite on the second floor.

This was not an easy space.  The stair hall was long, covering most of the distance from the 10’ ceilings on the first floor, the walls were high due to the additional 9’ ceilings on the second floor, and the width was narrow.  A mere 42”.   The solution in this case, because the homeowners loved traditional moldings, was to break the wall plane by adding a wainscot.  The long hallway was further broken up by adding vertical columns that create a repetition of elements, leading the eye down the wall.  The beautiful pendants by Vaughn Lighting are another example of repletion of elements, again, the pendants lead the eye along the path of travel.  The cork wallpaper installed in this space served two purposes.  The first was purely decorative.  The holes in the natural cork are filled with pools of gold which further reflect the light from the pendants and create a fantastic sparkle effect in the stair hall while the variation in color of the natural cork further warms the space.  The second purpose was to control sound.  Cork is a great sound absorber, and in a space like this, narrow, with very tall walls, sound tends to echo.  The cork wallpaper, combined with the beautiful Nourison wool runner, greatly diminished the noise level in this space.  Take a good look at your circulation spaces.  Maybe all they need is a little paint and molding.

Thanks to Mike Haug at Decorative Mouldings in San Diego for a meticulous installation.

09 Jun 2013

blogimage2We all have circulation spaces in our homes, stairways and hallways, that we often neglect to design.  But think about how often you walk up and down the stairs or down the hallway to your bedrooms or laundry.  Shouldn’t that space work for you as well?  Circulation space shouldn’t be overlooked when considering the overall design of a space, and is often a great opportunity to inject some style without a lot of cost.

While this stair case was clearly not a low cost solution, imagine it as it used to be.  Confined.  Surrounded by solid walls.  Constructed with non-descript materials. A standard walled in staircase.  Simply a means to move from one floor to the next.  Walking up it, you’d never know that just on the other side of the wall was a beautiful courtyard space, a block from the beach in La Jolla that the family loved to spend time in.

Interior design is all about inspired ideas that change space from “it serves a purpose” to “I love it!”  The staircase still serves the same function as the original.  It’s a circulation space.  It still provides access from the ground floor to the space above.  But now it’s a journey with views to the courtyard and pool that connects the interior of the home to the exterior.  Now, when you sit in the beautiful new library that opens out at the top of the stair, you can gaze out through the two story windows to the sparkling pool and courtyard just outside.  From the downstairs living room, it’s a focal point that pulls the eye, once again redirecting it to the true beauty of Southern California, outdoor living spaces.  At night, multiple small glass pendants suspended from the two story ceiling glow as though they were candles suspended in mid-air.  It’s a beautiful clean space.

But that’s not the only function this floating stair area has.  Now image this area as it’s used by the owners….clean and uncluttered when it needs to be, but the rest of the time?  If you dropped by any day unannounced, you’d find multiple pink doll houses scattered under the floating stair with Barbie mobiles cruising in the space between the stair and the windows.  And that’s o.k., actually it’s great.  Space is at a premium in Southern California, as it is in any city where real estate commands premium prices.  Space often needs to meet multiple uses.   As the mother of a now 21 year old who was constantly setting up Play Mobile villages in various spots around the house, I can totally relate.  We live in our homes.  It’s the perfect spot for the client’s daughter to set up her toys in a space that visually expands out to the pool in the courtyard.  Sun soaked, with cool tile underfoot, it responds to the client’s lifestyle.  All good design should.  Besides, the toys can easily be whisked into nearby storage when company comes calling.  And did I mention the two large dogs that love lying on the cool tile, keeping her company while she plays?

Thanks to Haldi Construction in San Diego for a beautiful installation.