All change- Redesign and Redecorate

In life things do not always stay the same for long.  Nothing is permanent – the seasons, our lives, our families and so too our homes will all change.  When we create rooms, we make them for the moment we are in.  Then we have to re-configure a room as we do not seem to use it any more or it’s use changes.  Reinventing, and moving things around to suit is important.  You need to remain flexible and open to new ideas and ways of using what you have got to make it all work for you again, while keeping the space welcoming and warm.  The other bonus is that it keeps things fresh, edgy and up-to-date.  It also a cocooning thing to do as the weather changes for winter in New Zealand.  (The opposite effect for spring and summer.  It is called a “spring clean” for a reason!)

A contrast in style,scale & height with furniture. Via http://apieceoftoastblog.com/

A contrast in style,scale & height with furniture. Via http://apieceoftoastblog.com/

This all may sound like Buddhist Friday talk, but a lot of an Interior Designer’s work is simply this.  Changing things around as things change in people’s lives. And it is not all about going out and buying everything shiny and new. Not many of us can afford to do that, and frankly a lot of these rooms will be characterless with no soul. So, have a look around your space, make a plan with possibilities, and then move things around.  Try a couple of chairs in a different room. Do they give a contrast in scale in height that was missing before? Move the sofas into another room.  Do they look better there?

These chairs add a contrast in scale and height in the room. Also add smooth with rough table.  Via Greige Design.

These chairs add a contrast in scale and height in the room. Also add smooth with rough table. Via Greige Design.

Ring the changes with a detail on a curtain panel, reinvent your side tables, put an extra desk in an unexpected place as a makeshift study.  Make the hallway an interesting space with wallpaper and hang those family photos that are in a box in a cupboard somewhere.  Maybe you could do something exciting with a dinner set that is lurking around at the back of the garage in a box.

Get those dinner plates on the wall.  Hang 'em any way.  Via http://denofopulence.tumblr.com/

Get those dinner plates on the wall. Hang ’em any way. Via http://denofopulence.tumblr.com/

Empty those boxes and hang 'em up to make the hallway an interesting space.

Empty those boxes and hang ’em up to make the hallway an interesting space. http://www.roomserviceinteriors.co.nz/

Use an old chest as a coffee table, recover a couple of chairs, use some fabric that pulls it all together with colour, pattern and style in cushions.  Have a look at those table arrangements – tablecapes – re-arrange and re- do them. Re-fresh, re-new, re-jig, re colour.

And some people call it redecorating and redesigning.

Winter Tablescape Idea via http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

Winter Tablescape Idea via http://stinemos.blogspot.co.nz/

Textural contrast on a table top. Add candles and shiny glass to terracotta pots.  Via Molitli Interiers.

Textural contrast on a table top. Add candles and shiny glass to terracotta pots. Via Molitli Interiers.

If you would like help with redecorating or re-jigging your interiors due to changes in your life, do not hesitate to contact us.

How to buy a Quality Sofa III: The Cushions

In Part I we talked about the frame, Part II about how important the use of Elephant Foam is.  Today we’ll tell you about the cushions as the cushioning is the true source of comfort in furniture design.The cushions on their own should be heavy so pick them up.  Are they light? If you can throw them around and pick them up easily it is not good quality foam.  When considering your new piece of furniture, unzip the cushion- hopefully you will see the following things:-

 

  •  A good quality cushion will have an elephant foam core, as it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of structure, firmness and stability which is good in a cushion.
  • The dense elephant foams provides you with superior comfort.  Seat cushion foam should be wrapped in a triple wrap of dacron/tetron in its own casing. This adds a softer look &  makes the furniture design even more comfortable.  The casing is important as stops it going into balls long term.

 

  • For a more indulgent super comfy sit the foam core could rest in a zippered all cotton casing, channelled duvet which is hand stuffed with just the right blend of duck down & feathers for softness & durability.  For those of you appreciate the better things in life you can have the luxury & feel of a traditional down cushion, but without the maintenance of daily fluffing which is required with an all feather cushion.
  • All furniture design should have back & arm cushions that are a feather/fibre mixture encased in a down-proof fabric with a centre gusset to help shape & give supreme comfort.
  • The  fabrics on the cushion should be over locked and all seams on joins top-sewn for additional strength. This means seams will not fray, giving increased wear & life for your favourite piece of designer furniture.  YKK zip and auto lock sliders should be use so you don’t get the case of the ‘exploding sofa cushion’.  Am sure you have all seen that!
  • Look to see if the cushion is tailored to fit into the back of the sofa/chair.  It should not just be a straight square, so look for small curves that tuck the cushion into the corners & underneath the back of the seat, especially if it is a fixed back.  Just another way of telling quality.
Quality Furniture in a room with lots of layers and textures.

Hampton Chairs in a room with lots of layers and textures-eg. wallpapers, rugs via http://blog.damasketdentelle.com/

P.S. Designer Tip:  When selecting scatter cushions for your sofa, opt for feather filled inners, not the Dacron/Poly fill.  With feather inners your cushions sit so much better and look and feel soooo much more luxurious.  Well worth it.

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In our next post we will talk about what guarantees you should look and then we’ll talk a little about upholstery fabrics (now that you know what a quality sofa is like!)

If you would like interior design help or help in selecting a quality piece of furniture please contact Room Service Interiors.

How to buy a Quality Sofa II: Foams

On Wednesday night we had the pleasure of talking to the Stage 2 class at the Nanette Cameron School of Interior Design which  has been the inspiration for this 4 part post on what makes a quality piece of furniture. First off it is the frame which we talked about in our last post. However Foams are equally important for supporting your body through their structure and how they shape a piece of furniture.  Then finally Cushions are the true source of comfort in a piece of furniture and the foam that goes in them is very important.

 

Be wary of a sofa that is super soft and squishy.  If it is soft on Day One  it will be positively saggy & offer no support by Day 365.  Your knees will be up around your ears when you sit down!  Equally be wary of a sofa that is way too firm.  Hard foam is not dense, and it is the density you pay for in a foam. Poor quality furniture has very little upholstery padding and the foams are cheap, cheap, cheap, light and offer no support. Look for lots of padding across the back and arms.  Look underneath the cushions.  You should not feel any sharp edges, staples, or the wood that lies beneath.  The piping and stitching should all be straight and not crooked.  Park your bottom on the seat.  Can you feel the front rail underneath your thighs? Can you feel any part of the frame beneath the foam? No?  Good, this could be the sofa for you then as it means lots of padding has been used and the seat foam is of decent quality.

 

Look for the use of Elephant foam, it is the heaviest, densest and most resilient.  It will give you years of firmness and stability which is good in a cushion. Memory foam and Luxura foam are used quite a lot but we wouldn’t recommend it to provide you with years of service.  Memory foam is lovely and soft and squishy for your sofa, but has no structure.  It was developed fas a topping foam for mattresses, and really should not be used in furniture.

Some manufacturers make a foam sandwich with their cushions.  But think about it – If you have a cushion that is 100mm thick you will get good structure by using all Elephant foam.  However, if you then make a ‘sandwich’ with Memory or Luxura foam (using 50mm of it for comfort) you will be taking away 50mm of structure and good support for your dear self in years to come.  So, it is a compromise.

 

In our next post we will talk about the cushioning on your sofa, and how elephant foam is used there along with feathers and other goodies.  Please come back to continue reading.

If you would like help selecting a comfortable, quality piece of furniture, we’d love to hear from you!

Go for Gold – new trend

A trend we have been noticing recently is the use of Gold in interior design.  After many years of chrome and stainless fittings there is a return to brass and gold.  It is probably because the neutral colour of the moment is Grey, which can seem a little cold and unwelcoming so a Glint of Gold just warms things up.  It also looks fabulous with a classic black and white colour scheme, adding a bit of vibe. There is no need to go around changing all the hardware in your home to gold or brass, but just introduce a few touches here and there to get going.  Here are some images from  to explain what we mean:-

The above gold Etch Pendants are designed by Tom Dixon.  Look so dramatic against the Black background.

The Gold mosaic wall tiles add a touch of glitz and glamour to an otherwise industrial-styled Cafe.  Love the textural play with the sheepskin rug on the stools too.

Above you can see the use of a gold metallic table adds warmth to this grey scheme and works really well with the green chairs (which also have gold upholstery nails). And finally the kitchen below, courtesy of Greige Design, shows how beautiful brass handles look amazing on Grey cabinetry in a classically styled kitchen.

So Go for Gold and add those Gorgeous Glints to your rooms. If you would like help adding a touch of gold to your interior design scheme, contact us.

Related Articles:

http://leitmotiv-interiorismo.blogspot.co.nz/search?updated-max=2013-10-22T09:39:00%2B02:00&max-results=1&start=6&by-date=false

How to create the Perfectly Imperfect Room

Having talked about letting go of perfection last week, we thought we better help you create interiors that are not so perfect.  For many of you, creating the perfectly imperfect room will be scary but it is not as hard as it sounds. The main in creating an imperfect room is to try to achieve welcoming, cosy, relaxing and comfortable feeling.  To simplify the process we have made a list: (this is a perfectionist thing to do- I know!

  1. The easiest and most important thing to do is to colour your room in.  Yes, paint those walls a warm welcoming deeper colour and it will instantly transform your space.  White/off white doesn’t do that.  Colour is the easiest, least expensive, most transforming, old decorator’s trick in the book.  Go for a soft neutral like Dulux Waitangi, North Head, or Opononi. Be brave and make it double strength.
  2. Move the furniture off the walls.  Get the big pieces – sofas and chairs in an arrangement as if they are “talking” to each other.  It looks so welcoming.  Add the big and squishy, comfy too. (layers again).  Next place the side tables there with the lamps/candles as that is where you comfortably want to place your G&T tonight isn’t it it?

  3. Add texture, texture, texture, layers of it.  Create an element of rough with smooth.  Fluffy with shiny.  Everything all shiny and smooth, is cold and unwelcoming. Frigid. So add rough loved furniture, the shaggy rug, hand knitted throw, the wicker basket.  This creates a tension and vibrancy in a room which moves it into an interesting space, far away from bland land.
  4. Add layers, layers, layers, of texture yes, but also the quirky, interesting, and underlying. Add the rug, add the cushion, add the wallpaper, add the pattern, create some tables-capes, make the mantle piece look magic.  This all creates layers of interest in a room. Yes, you will have to dust a little, but at least it will be interesting.
  5. Add some lighting. Get those lamps plugged in, candles lit, and put them in corners and on tables.  As many as you like. They add interesting pools of light to a room, are beautifully soft, warm and  welcoming and of course less than perfect. Overhead ceiling pot lights, perfectly placed in the 4 corners of the room just don’t do this. They are stark, unwelcoming, uninteresting and predictable.
  6. Next you need to add something less than perfect- a little bit of wacky, quirky, odd ball, unpredictable and funny.  Even a stuffed animal will do. When everything is too perfect it lacks humour and therefore is uptight and perfect.
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Table Scapes create focal points

TextureandHumour

Texture with Humour

Now you can sit comfortably in your re aligned space and enjoy with your family and friends. What could be more perfect than that?

Letting go of Perfection

Today included a visit to a client’s house which had the most beautiful rugs, colour scheme, perfect paintwork, satin drapes, gorgeous dark glossy floor, designer  furniture- you’re getting the picture?  It was just perfect!   There wasn’t a hair out of place – well, anything out of place.  No scuff marks on the walls. Wasn’t quite sure why we were there really, but then it clicked why. It was too perfect, and the client knew it.  It felt like a fancy hotel room that had just been super cleaned. It was formal, shiny, stilted and stiff.  It was hard to feel at ease within the rooms-there was no personality, no soul. And these poor people (well not so poor, actually) had spent a small fortune to get this imperfect perfection.   Hmmm.  There is a fine line between “dressing”  a room  and making it so perfect that it is uncomfortable to be in.

Perfect rooms are as irritating as perfect people.  The best interior designers create rooms that look interesting and relaxed; used, lived in. There should be an element of surprise or quirkiness, something somewhere that is a bit risque.  It just takes the room to another level and makes you think – “Huh, why have they done that?”  You don’t want to decorate in a mad or crazy way, but just add a piece that is a little out of context. Add a chair in a crazy colour, a quirky lamp base.

BedLayeringPicHeadboard

For example the bed should look neat and smoothed, cushions plump and arranged, but with a look of nonchalance.  The bed should also look deeply comfortable and welcoming. Not stiff and upright and uptight. To be successful your bedroom needs to be a little uncontrived and never too pristine to put your feet up.  (But not on the pearly white cover with shoes on). You can see the difference between the photographs of the bedrooms in this post.  They all beautiful, but one is a little more stiff and upright, and not so relaxed as the others. Can you work out which bedroom is not so relaxing? (Hint – everything is mitchy-matchy, Laura Ashley)

DarkBed

So, let go of having every last thing absolutely perfect and everything in its exact place.  Relax a little, scrunch your hair do up a bit, (or let it down.) Use texture,add another cushion that doesn’t quite match, un-straighten the rug and even leave the towel on the floor.  Make it look like you actually enjoy living there.  Relax! Let go of being perfect. That way you’ll sleep better. 

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If you would like help letting go of Interior perfection we’d love to help.  You will find us here.

The Do’s and Don’ts of a Guest Bedroom

Please, please do not make your guest room the junk room.  The last thing your guest wants to find are your old clothes in the wardrobe or extra table linen in the dresser drawers!  Keep under the beds, clean, clutter and dust free.  Make sure the towels & sheets are clean with no stains.  None of your family photographs or other memorabilia either and no sign of the guest who was there before.  They also won’t like broken alarm clocks, lights and fans!

RoomServiceBed123-Web

You know the saying “Guests, like fish, tend to go off after three days”….so when it comes to guest bedrooms it is best to find the happy medium.  You don’t want them to stay tooooo long, but  while they are there you would like them to feel welcome and comfortable.  You also want them to feel like they are getting a bit of hotel luxury too. So, a clean, neutral space with a good comfortable mattress, good pillows and empty closets (with hangers) and drawers.  Clean stain free fresh linens on the bed and fluffy towels.  Spare blankets, and hangers or pegs for their clothes.  A table or surface that is clutter free, and good bedside lamps for reading are a must.  Books, magazines. local maps and places of interest are good to allow you a few hours to yourself when they go out!  A small chair for sitting in or laying clothes on could be handy and a luggage rack/place to put a suitcase if space permits too.

ThriftShopFinds

TwinBedroom

Toiletries like the courtesy soaps, shampoos and lotions you get in hotels are a great way to make some one feel welcome.  A spare key and garage door opener is also good if you don’t want to be disturbed at night. You can add lavender bags on the pillows and in the cupboard. Or a scented candle is great  in cupboards as the smell is beautiful when you open the door/drawer and it can be used if they want added romance or there is a power cut!  Cut flowers, fruit,  a carafe of water and glass are all welcoming.  Anti-Mosquito plug ins, sunscreen and a fan are a good idea in summer too.  This guest basket idea is also a great to contain all of these things.  Check out http://bobbleheadbaby.com/?p=2850

Abigal Ahern, decorator extraordinaire, is also full of how to add a bit of interest inexpensively to your guest room.  Take a look at: http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/pallet-bed-frames/

Well that has given you another room to get sorted, so give yourself a deadline by inviting some one to stay. Lets hope in return for your well thought out bedroom your guest offers to cook lunch or organise drinks and nibbles before dinner.  Then they definitely will be invited back.

mylittletumberbedroom

Related Articles:

http://abigailahern.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/pallet-bed-frames/

http://bobbleheadbaby.com/?p=2850

http://mylittlebox2.tumblr.com/post/45021025054