Janet Ramin - When one thinks of wood, usually the popular ones come to mind: oak, maple, walnut, cherry, and mahogany. Other cheaper woods such as birch, poplar, and beech have become more prominent in the market due to deforestation. But have you heard of the following exotic woods? You might want to set a design resolution this spring to explore adding one or more of these fine woods into your home, adding beauty and utility to your decor.
Acacia is a beautiful hardwood found in Australia and Hawaii that has a wide range of appearances and hence can fit in a variety of interiors – from sophisticated to rustic. Acacia has a warm color, varying from light to dark tones, as shown in the photos above and below. The wood also shows off a highly-figured grain, as seen in the Twist Table above. A darker version with a less wavy grain is seen in the Rustic Table from West Elm.
Mango wood is a popular hardwood from Thailand and the Philippines that is eco-friendly. Mango wood is cut from the mango fruit tree once the tree has finished bearing fruit. Since these trees have to be chopped down anyway in order to make way for new trees that bear fruit, the resulting timber is recycled to other uses such as furniture and accessories. Mango wood has a yellow-orange tone as seen in the sideboard and the ball table below.
Sapele is a hardwood similar to mahogany with a light grain. It can be stained from a medium orangey-red to a deeper reddish-brown, as seen in this gorgeous chest of drawers designed by
The winter blahs and pre-spring ho-hums may be getting you down around the house. Why? Many homeowners tend to "cozy up" a home with darker tones, nubbier textiles, and an overall warmer look that flattens out when the weather turns lighter and daylight extends for longer hours. A solution to meet an oncoming spring is to add more furniture pieces that add reflective surfaces to a room. These pieces, widely available in finishes ranging from real mirrors to a sterling silver metallic, will catch and bounce light, pick up warmer and brighter color shades in your room, and add a touch of elegance and glamour to your home.
We've been celebrating Hollywood Regency Glamour on Design2Share recently, and furnishings and accents reminiscent of the Golden Age of Movies will help bring your home into a more glamorous light, particularly with reflective pieces that shimmer with daylight or sparkle with lamplight. One such collection is the new line from Michael Amini and actor/designer Jane Seymour called, appropriately enough, Hollywood Swank.
Sara Van Arsdale - Let’s say you’ve decided to finally do something about that troublesome room in your home. You know, the guest room you’re trying to create from your college kid’s bedroom, or the study that’s been ignored far too long. Or you’ve just moved to a new place, and you want a fresh start with a fresh look. Often, the place to begin with any major decorating project is with painting the walls.
And that’s the thought that makes many people shrink back in fear: hang a few large pictures on the wall and hope that the world ends before anything needs to be done about it.
We have this response for good reason. For many people, choosing paint color is a huge commitment, and painting an entire room - whether you do it your self or hire a professional - can be an expensive prospect. So you don’t want to choose a color and then, when the furniture is all in, realize that it was a hideous choice.
That happened to me, once. No, actually it happened twice, which makes it even more embarrassing to admit. And both times, (both times! O dear Reader, how I cringe to admit this!) it happened with pink and blue. Both times, I thought I was painting one room a pale near-white with just a hint of pellucid robin’s egg blue, and the other would be a pale near-white with just a blush of rose, like an evening sky in late summer.
In the first case, I did the painting myself, and I ended up with a place that looked like I was preparing for twins, a baby girl and a baby boy. (I was not, at the time, with child.) All I needed were some cut-outs of fluffy lambies for the walls and a couple of bassinettes.
The second time it happened, I hired a painter, a great guy who grew up in Jamaica (the island nation, not the neighborhood in Queens). I left for the days he painted, and when I came back, he said, a bit dubiously, “It reminds me of my country.” And indeed, it looked all pink sand and clear blue waters - lovely, but not really what I’d had in mind. This time, all I needed was a tiki bar and a snorkeling outfit.
The most important thing I learned from these experiences was that wall color always looks less strong, less intense on the swatch than it does on the wall. Once you paint an entire wall any color, that color takes possession of the room. Paint all four walls that color, and you create a little bubble of color - which is great, if you love the color. But the color reflects back on itself, multiplying its strength, and that’s something that’s hard to imagine when you’re looking at a tiny one-inch swatch.
The second thing to keep in mind is