Saturday, April 12, 2014

Kitchen Crushes

Atlanta condo kitchen 1
The “opportunity” kitchen that needs a little help.

This is the story of designing the perfect new kitchen for a condo in Atlanta, Georgia …

One of us has had a wandering eye.  It all started a few weeks ago, when a friend introduced me to a spectacular, one-of-a-kind condo that I fell in love with.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one, and this beauty got away … but not without my being bitten by the bug to go condo shopping again.  It is a favorite activity (unfortunately for my husband) which usually consists of my spinning out of control for a few weeks, visiting everything I can, having crushes along the way, measuring pros and cons, consulting spreadsheets and doing countless analyses … until I often end up back at home, happily staying where I am until the next crazy idea comes along.

This time, I’m in the spinning phase and have found a cool condo, in an intriguing part of town that has a lot going for it, but it lacks a good kitchen.  Of course I look at all design flaws as OPPORTUNITY!  And this one has gotten me thinking … how would I redo the kitchen?

If this little fantasy becomes a reality, I’ll pull in our design divas, Sam and Colleen, because I know they could make anything beautiful.   But since it’s just a dream, and I get to study and be inspired by some of my favorite designers ( like Suzanne Kasler), the sky’s the limit and I’m going to have some fun!

 1 Condo kitchen 1
The way it looks now:  Front view of the “OPPORTUNITY!” kitchen and some ideas to follow

1tem4.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.suzanne-kasler-atlanta-house-05-kitchen
It seems that I always turn to Suzanne Kasler for inspiration

1 laura ellerbroek dot blogspot
Another inspiring kitchen from Laura Ellerbroek’s blog

1 elle decor kitchen with large island and stools - could fit when I have in mind
I don’t love the color of the cabinets (from Elle Decor), but I like the clean lines and thickness of the kitchen island.

From granite gurus.com
So pretty! The gorgeous Calcutta gold marble, the striking backsplash and the touch of glam with a chandelier.  From Granite Gurus.

1 decorpad grey
Ah, but wait! Look how dramatic this dark grey looks, especially with the contrasting brass fixtures that are so handsome. Tempting! From Decor Pad.

1 B_BoffiCookingSchool_L
And from one of our favorite Italian kitchen designers that we know from Paris, Boffi. So clean, so streamlined, so functional.

1 boffi_LT_cucina_kitchen_1.jpg.aspx Boffi again, with their clean, clean lines.

I'm gaga over this Gaggenau kitchen!
I’m gaga over this Gaggenau kitchen!

Let’s look at it from a different angle now:

3AA Condo kitchen
The condo kitchen that I’d love to get my hands on.

3 Brustic-kitchen-suzanne-kasler-interiors-201307-2_1000-watermarked
And turning once again to wonderful Suzanne Kasler. Notice the contrasting brass fixtures again, and the beautiful detailing on the island.  From Architectural Digest.

3 B about-boffi
And what about this intriguing way of hiding kitchen cabinets: Big doors that slide in and out. From Boffi again.

3 boffi_zone_cucina_kitchen_1.jpg.aspx
When the doors are closed up, everything is hidden. That’s pretty tempting too!

3 AB sareenstone dot com
But I also love this big island, from Australian designers at  Sareenstone.com, which shows off the dramatic veining and again, has just the right thickness.

3 A from bhg on how to remove wall
Look at these open shelves. Do we even need kitchen cabinets? From Better Homes & Gardens.

To open-shelf or not: That is the question.  Years ago, when we lived in France and rented a house for a year, the kitchen consisted of a big, thick farm table and an armoire, along with a cooktop, dishwasher, sink and fridge.  It was so simple, but it worked so well, and we cooked some of our best meals there.  When we renovated Les Murets, we took a page from the same book, and removed all the cabinets from the walls.

The kitchen of Les Murets
The Kitchen of Les Murets, where we removed all the cabinets and replaced them with an antique armoire.

And when we renovated our house in Atlanta a few years back, again, we removed the cabinets and hung paintings on all the blank walls.  Not only was it lighter and prettier, it was very functional (having all the dishes stored in one place) and put a smile on my face every time I looked up and saw a favorite painting.

Huff Kitchen in Atlanta
Our old kitchen in Atlanta, inspired by Les Murets, where we replaced the upper cabinets with art.

Huff Kitchen in Atlanta 2
And used the antique French armoire with chicken wire to hold all of our dishes.

Open Alice Lane Kitchen-2 from vinteriors blog
You can hide your dishes behind chicken wire, as we did, or keep them on an open shelf, which looks great if you have the same color dishes! From Vinterior Design blog.

Open style shelves from Decor Pad blog
I love these open shelves, from Decor Pad blog, because they’re wonderfully chunky and handsome.

Open shelves from Remodelista dot com
And this is a great, clean look from Remodelista.com.

Open finnish kitchen on pinterest
And a more contemporary look, from a Finnish home on Pinterest.

4 contemporary-lacquer-kitchens-island-15-1961757
And speaking of contemporary: I’m always drawn to clean lines, thick surfaces and fabulous use of stainless steel, like this one from Boffi.

So I’m torn:  Which kitchen do I have the biggest crush on? The gorgeous, elegant, French inspired kitchen like number one, below? Or the super contemporary, clutter-free design from Gaggenau?

 open-kitchen-shelving-enchanted-home 
 1.  A lovely French inspired kitchen that incormporates all my favorite things: open shelves, baskets, calcutta marble, chandeliers, and wonderful functionality. The Enchanted Home blog.

zie end Gaggenau NYC
2.  Or this sexy, streamlined, elegant and dramatic kitchen from Gaggenau. 

Oooh, I think I have a big crush on Number 2!  What about you? Do you, too?

Ta ta,

HH

Thursday, April 3, 2014

How to ... Hang Paintings

Just about everyday at the gallery, we get someone asking us how to hang art: what’s too high, what’s too low, what’s too small (or big) for over the sofa, how can I hang multiple paintings together and how do I know if I’m doing it right?  What are the rules; are there any rules and do I really need to follow them?  We got so many questions we decided to write a list of tips.

There's nothing like beautifully hung art to make a room shine.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Courtney Giles.
There’s nothing like beautifully hung art to make a room shine.   This painting sits perfectly over the sofa.  Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Courtney Giles.

Speaking of rules, the short answer is yes and the good news is you don’t have to follow them to a tee.  We prefer to look at them as quiet little guidelines that will help you hang your paintings confidently so they can look gorgeous on your walls. Most important is to have fun with your art:  re-arrange it frequently to keep it fresh – and enjoy it.

So, here you are.  Grab your hammer and nails and start hanging:

The eyes have it: always hang at eye level and avoid hanging too high (we’ve found that to be our clients’ most common mistake).  You can use 5.8″ as the average level but we tend to just go with whether it feels right  And when hanging over a couch, dresser or piece of furniture, don’t hang it too high – usually 3 to 6 inches will do.

Suzanne Kasler hangs a goregous abstract over a little antique sofa.
Suzanne Kasler hangs a goregous abstract over a little antique sofa.

Safety in numbers: hang in groupings if the pieces are small.

Any one of these paintings would have been lost on the wall but adding similarly-sized work fills the space perfectly.
Any one of these paintings would have been lost on the wall but adding similarly-sized work fills the space perfectly and pleases the eye proportionally.  From Suzanne Kasler.

See and be seen: buy your art because you’re madly in love with and hang it where you can feast your eyes on it each and every day.  One of our favorite spots to hang art is in the kitchen…especially if the kitchen is gorgeous, modern and white and the paintings are old, crusty pieces we discovered in a Paris flea market.

The very best spot for your favorite art: the kitchen.
The very best spot for your favorite art: the kitchen.

And speaking of art where you can see it....(from DesignSponge.)
And speaking of hanging art where you can see it everyday….(from DesignSponge.)

Think big: for great visual impact, consider a big piece for a small room.

This fabulous portrait looks great in this space. Talk about visual wow...from Veranda.
This fabulous portrait looks great in this smallish space. Talk about visual wow…and we love how it’s flanked on either side with similar but different paintings.  From Veranda.

Pack a Punch:  arrange your paintings for the maximum wow effect.  We’re crazy about art walls -  and they’re not as scary to hang as they seem if you start by arranging them on the floor first or creating a grid with craft paper.

Don't be afraid of creating a gallery wall.  It's easy, especially if you plot your grid on the wall or floor first.
Don’t be afraid of creating a gallery wall. It’s easy, especially if you plot your grid on the wall or floor first.  Better Homes and Gardens.

If you’re doing a gallery wall, keep in mind that there needs to be a unifying factor: similar frames, similar subject matters, palette or media.

This grouping is a pretty symphony in blue which unifies it and really makes it pop.  From Ace of Space.
This grouping is a pretty symphony in blue which unifies it and really makes it pop. From Ace of Space.

We love this elegant grouping from Traditional Home.
Making an impact: we love this elegant grouping from Traditional Home. Using similar mats and frames really makes this stand out.

Think outside the wall: you can lean, prop and stand your paintings all over the house. Pay attention to overlooked spaces, too — corners and over doorways and archways are prime decorating spots.

Anywhere but the wall:  prop, stand and lean your paintings.
On the walls – and everywhere else, too.  From House Beautiful.

We love the way the upper shelf is used as a mini-gallery in this shot from House Beautiful.
We love the way the upper shelf is used as a mini-gallery in this shot from House Beautiful.

Take it to the table: small pictures don’t need to be on a wall; try an easel or bookshelf.

More from the talented Suzanne Kasler: paintings take center stage when they're hung on bookshelves. 
 More from the talented Suzanne Kasler: paintings take center stage when they’re hung on bookshelves.

This is fun.  Paintings hung on bookshelves and propped on the floor.  The personality is just oozing here.
This is fun. Paintings hung on bookshelves and propped on the floor. The personality is just oozing here. From House Beautiful.

Same kind of different: as long as there’s something unifying the grouping (here it’s the touches of black) you can hang whatever you like. It doesn’t have to match – and it’s better if it doesn’t.

 This works because even though the art and frames are all different, they're unified by something similar: black.
This works because even though the art and frames are all different, they’re unified by something similar: black. (Interior Design Musings.)

Go with the flow: Don’t let the room dictate what you love:  work with architectural features, not against them.

Work with what you have.  If panelling or moulding gets in the way work with it, not against it.
Work with what you have. If panelling or moulding gets in the way work with it, not against it. Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles/Courtney Giles.

Let your personality shine: art is individualistic and subjective.  Sometimes, you just need to follow your gut and take a chance with your hanging technique.

 We typically like the "large-over-small" rule of thumb but this works perfectly, too.  See? No rules! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.
 We typically like the “large-over-small” rule of thumb but this works perfectly, too. See? No rules! Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles.

We love the challenge of hanging art – and nothing makes us feel better than knowing that the nail is in the right spot, the painting’s at the right height and wow, does it look great.  Happy hanging!

(check out more Huff Harrington How To’s here.)

Ta ta….

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Magazine Envy

Magazine envy

Huffington pow-wow

Every once in a while, my intrepid, energizer-bunny business partner and I talk about what new business we might want to open next. I won’t bore you with the list of ideas except to say that starting a magazine is always somewhere at the top. Wouldn’t it be fun to be editor of a fabulous publication like House Beautiful, or a combination of Veranda, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles and the gorgeous French magazine, Cote Sud?

But wait!  There’s no need to start our own magazine because there’s a new one out that comes close to pure perfection!  If you haven’t already come across it, you’re in for a real treat with the latest issue of “Milieu” magazine.

Milieu Magazine cover, Spring 2014
Milieu Magazine cover, Spring 2014

I should preface this by saying that Pamela Pierce, the interior designer editor and publisher of Milieu, has ALWAYS been my hero when it comes to interior design.  Her designs, which are heavily French influenced, are the ultimate blend of clean lines, sophistication, beautiful palette and that wonderful mix of old and new, collected and modern, or as we like to say at the store, crusty and clean.

 An iconic Pamela Pierce interior that says crusty and clean like no other.
An iconic Pamela Pierce interior that says crusty and clean like no other.

 We were so excited (and just slightly envious) when we learned, last year, that Pamela Pierce was starting her own magazine, called Milieu. Here’s what she told the NY Times last August, when asked why she decided to start her own publication, in an already crowded “milieu.”

“I wanted to bring a different perspective to editorial. And I wanted to search for designers who haven’t been published that much. It’s a little schizophrenic right now in the design world. It’s like people don’t know what direction to take. I love antiques and I think you need some in your home to bring the past in along with the future. I’m just seeing a lot of throwaway furniture in houses. I want to show people that you can mix the new with the old; you can still honor both.”

Pamela Pierce N.Y. Times
Pamela Pierce tells the N.Y. Times that it’s all about the mix … which is all music to our ears! Photo by Fran Brennan, NYT

We’re so crazy about Pamela Pierce that we could probably do several blogs just on her designs. But let’s take a look at her magazine, and see how she’s captured the mix she so strongly believes in.

The entry hall to a new house in Belgium that was all built with old materials
The entry hall to a new house in Belgium that was all built with old materials. Photo by Claude Smekens.

Burgundian stone and the French antique staircase
Check out the reclaimed Burgundian stone and the French antique staircase in this beautiful home.

We are smitten with the bold color of the walls and upholstery in this same lovely home.  Photos by claude Smekens
We are smitten with the bold color of the walls and upholstery in this same lovely home. Photos by Claude Smekens.

The sitting room is painted Farrow & Ball "Hue".  Great color.  Photo by Claude Smekens.
The sitting room is painted Farrow & Ball “Hue”. Great color. Photo by Claude Smekens.

Shifting gears, but staying in the same palette, is a gorgeous feature on a Houston house by designer Eleanor Cummings, and photographed by Peter Vitale.

What a gorgeous combination of jewel toned colors in this Houston house by Eleanor Cummings! Peter Vitale
What a gorgeous combination of jewel toned colors in this Houston house by Eleanor Cummings!

We love the freshness of the kitchen, which is so lively and unexpected.  Design by  Eleanor cummings,Photos by  Peter Vitale
We love the freshness of the kitchen, which is so lively and unexpected.

Complementary colors in the same value achieve a serene look, by Eleanor Cummings.
Utter perfection! Look at how these colors play beautifully together! The trick is that by using complementary colors that are all the same value, this room is serene and soothing rather than busy or jarring.

Color EleanorBedStory Peter Vitale
Again, we just love the pops of color (and check out the Moroccan rug!).

This next house could be Huff Harrington Home! We love the mix of old and new, of gilded and crusty, of salvaged and precious.

 Desert Rose photographed by Peter Vitale in warm neutrals
The restored living room of a designer’s Santa Fe adobe.

Desert Rose Santa Fe bedroom with photos by Peter Vitale
We love breaking rules, like putting dressers in front of windows.

Of course you know why we love this cover shot of Milieu magazine!  Remember our blog called “Begging for Biot” that features these same Biot jarres?  Pamela Pierce is a big jarre fan and uses them widely in most of her interiors.

Biot jarre and Milieu magazine
A Biot jarre is the star of this cover of Milieu magazine from TG interiors blog.

Pretty in pink first Lady Kay Allen
And then there’s a gorgeous feature on pinks, by designer Lady Kay Allen, with photos by Peter Vitale.

Pretty in pink Lady Kae Peter Vitale
Pink slipcovers make their debut every spring in this lovely Dallas home.

We are fans of “touches of pink” as you’ll remember from our favorite pied-a-terre in Paris that we designed with touches of pink that were inspired by a beautiful old painting we found at the Paris flea market.

 Beaumes de Venise pink apartment
We think Pamela Pierce would approve of our little Paris apartment, called Beaumes de Venise, where we introduced little touches of pink.

large_4-Paris-vacation-rental-living-room-web
A little pink goes a long way, but what a difference it makes!

large_11-Charming-pillow-with-initials-Beaume-de-Venise-web
We added this charming monogrammed pillow to pick up just a hint of pink in the living room of our Paris apartment.

think pink in Milieu magazine
And speaking of pink … Milieu did a whole other spread on it with some of our favorite products.

Milieu Mag cover
And look at this cover from another Milieu issue … just divine!

And finally, my favorite house of all: That of Shannon Bowers, the Dallas interior designer.

Shannon Bowers Dallas home

Paris meets West Texas in this fresh, clean and pretty home (with touches of pink!)

Shannon Bowers Dallas home
A lovely side garden in Shannon Bowers’ personal home.

ShannonLivingStory Milieu magazine
The piece de resistance and my favorite room in the magazine! Gorgeous art, beamed ceilings, unexpected coffee table arrangement and a pop of fresh yellow. The combo is delightfully eclectic and so sophisticated.

So, as you might expect, we’ve been approached by Milieu magazine on a few occasions to advertise in their pages.  Sadly, it’s not in our budget – although if it were, we’d be there.  But how would we look amid the pages of this oh so gorgeous and sophisticated magazine?  

Merry maids cropped
Hmmm … do you think a pair of French maids would cut it?  I’m not so sure that our little humor would fit in with such pure beauty.    So maybe we should come out with our own magazine.  What would we call it?  Something sassy and classy,  familiar and Frenchy, bien sur …

I think I’ve got it!

l'Huffington Poste paint

Ta ta!

HH