ALL POSTS TAGGED "living room"

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The Carlyle New York, one of Manhattan’s most celebrated hotels, has enjoyed an eight year relationship with the award-winning design firm Champalimaud. Over the years, the firm has completed renovations of a handful of suites. Champalimaud’s goal has been to satisfy the high expectations of visiting celebrities and dignitaries who often take up the suites as long-term residences. (In the past, rumored guests have included Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, Jack Nicholson, maybe Mick Jagger, but we won’t confirm.)

The Carlyle Central Park

When designing the suites featured in this month’s tour, Champalimaud ensured that comfort and usability were brought to the forefront of the designs, so these rooms would feel like a home away from home, rather than impersonal hotel rooms. (A quarter of the hotel’s 239 rooms and suites are occupied by long-term renters or co-op owners.) Senior Designer Craig Mitchell, who leads the firm’s ongoing design work for the Carlyle, and President and Principal Designer Alexandra Chamalimaud explain how they were able to keep history and classicisim alive in this Manhattan landmark located on Madison Avenue, while also moving the design into the 21st century.

The Carlyle Bedroom

SUITE: 3001 • Says Craig, “Each suite at the Carlyle is unique in its design. When we were asked to renovate Suite 3001, it was decided the vision for this suite would be to exemplify contemporary classicism. We had 10 weeks to complete it. We searched many antique stores and showrooms. We mixed contemporary art with vintage lacquered furniture in beige and soft grays, with accents of orange. I will never forget frantically installing the finishing touches mere minutes before the guests checked in.

Can You Say Room Service?

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The March issue of Country Living is redefining just what qualifies as “country” these days.

country living red and purple living roomCountry Living

Toile, when paired with a punchy purple walls, is modern country along with eclectic “worldy” art collections, a comfy dining room and outdoor elements used indoors. Vintage fabrics are one of the defining characteristics of a country style, and this living room embraces them while still looking fresh.

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Happy Valentine’s Day all you design lovers! On this day of love, I thought I’d share one of my favorite red pieces of furniture with you: the Womb Chair.

red saarinen womb chair

I know that it may look a tad space-aged to the traditional furniture fan, but it is just so darn comfortable. True to its name, Eero Saarinen’s chair is womb-like. You sit in it and the coziness is undeniable. Of course it comes in colors other than red, but today this one seemed the obvious choice.

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Finding a sofa for a small space can be quite the challenge. If you want something bigger than a loveseat but smaller than a standard couch, you may be stuck.

cb2 parlour sofa

The compromise that this small Parlour Sofa from cb2 reaches is a fantastic solution to that dilemma. As one of their new pieces for 2011, this small-scale number measures in at just 61″ wide. The sleek lines and steel blue color really won me over.

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Tampa’s Studio M is a full-service interior design firm founded by principal designer Michelle Jennings Wiebe in 1991.  Having lived in Florida for most of her life, Michelle has always been inspired by coastal living . “Florida is home to not only beautiful tropical weather, but also to some of the most luxurious waterfront homes in the world. Over the years, our firm has been blessed to work on some truly exquisite waterfront projects.” Shake off the winter blues as Michelle walks us through a warm and sophisticated Florida home that challenges notions of tropical design.

Studio M Coastal Living Room

Michelle says, “My clients did not want their waterfront home to have the traditional tropical feel that so many Florida homes have. Instead, they wanted a sleek, contemporary home that melded their chic lifestyle with the oceanfront exterior of their home. What I call “living coastal contemporary” is both a lifestyle and design philosophy that I used in defining the theme for this home. With so much beauty right outside their door, they wanted to be able to see it and enjoy it from different parts of the house. The tropical vibe is subtle — this house make sense anywhere in the country. It’s not themed, but it does reflect the beauty of the area.”
More on Michelle’s Coastal Contemporary Style

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While tons of people obsess over certain Hollywood A-Listers, I find myself weak in the knees for the unsung heroes of glamour — shelter magazine photographers. My obsession is somewhat justified, because, unless you’re going to barge into the home of my latest client, you’re most likely going to see my work (and hire me) through the work of these photographers. And interiors shoots are kinda fascinating. Not in an OMG-look-what-Suri-Cruise-is-wearing-on-the-playground type way. More like in a WOW-that’s-how-the-Egyptians-made-the-Pyramids kinda way. So prepare to be amazed, like one of those TV specials, as I reveal…secrets of shelter magazine photographers.

After this post, when looking at interior photos, you’ll not only appreciate the work it took to create them, you’ll — like I do — notice the curious absence of everyday things like corners. And toilets. And if you do see them, you’ll know that someone either made a major faux pas or deliberately embraced the photographer’s “kiss of death.”

I could keep typing, but, instead, I’m going to let the professionals do the talking since (a) I find myself irritating after two paragraphs (b) this is all about photographers anyway (c) I have a photo shoot in an hour, and if I don’t leave now, someone else will snatch the peonies, and I’ll be left with Alstroemeria.


Foyer: Neely Design Associates, Brian Watford ID | Living Room: Liza Bryan Interiors

Clicky-Click for the Q&As

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Fall is upon us, and I’m in search of snuggle-up-by-the-fire-inducing designs.

It seems furniture artist Claire-Anne O’Brien had the same idea when she created these adorable knitted stools, which tap right into a recent hot trend in home decor: warm, cozy weaves. I love the playful quality of Obrien’s designs. One of these stools would look cute in an office or even a kids’ room.


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We enjoyed spending time with Emily Henderson, host of the show Secrets From a Stylist, at our design bloggers luncheon in Manhattan last week. (You can read about the 40 bloggers, including Design Happens contributors like Emily, who joined us at our New York offices here.) Before winning HGTV Design Star, Emily enjoyed a busy career as a photo-shoot stylist for top lifestyle and design publications. Now she’s even busier.

Read on to learn more about which designer has influenced Emily the most and what she finds impossible to pass up at flea markets.


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Back in the early 1990s, I sat front and center for the best fight in suburban South Florida history. There were no ropes and no screaming fans; nor were there disgruntled, black-and-white striped dudes with whistles. Featured opponents? My mom and dad. Location: formal living room, 8300 NW 54th St., my tropical childhood home.

Just to fill you in, my parents rarely fought. Even if they did, it would involve (a) coupon-expiration-date-induced bickering over where to eat dinner (b) Thursday Night Remote Control Tug-of-War (Chicago Hope versus NYPD Blue). When they did unabashedly lose their cool like housemates circa episode six of The Real World, I was unapologetically pleased, because it was mostly decorating-based.

The catalyst for that night’s explosion? Straight from the taxidermist, Dad snuck 12 feet of stuffed elk and sailfish in the front door as Mom pulled up from a PTA meeting, dinner in one hand and a 3-year-old in the other. What followed can best be described as the sound of all hell breaking loose.

Meg Ryan Marathon Meets Monday Night Football

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This week’s Style Jolt is inspired by my current apartment dilemma: the long, narrow living room. My main living area desperately needs privacy from the office space. Any one of these gorgeous room dividers could solve the problem. (I especially love the idea of bookcase dividers to showcase my constantly growing book collection.)

vitalsteel full screen

vitalsteel screen close up

Both images from The Digital Panda

More Dividers

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Big_Etsy_Logo_SmallOur friends at Etsy are back this week with another Get The Look: Home Decor Edition inspired by rooms from Designers Portfolio.  This week they dive into traditional styling and have some great finds for your traditional living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.  Some of my favorites are:


We were so inspired by Etsy that we felt like continuing the fun by taking a look at items for a traditional home office and a traditional dining room.

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We’ve got what you’ve been looking for: the best of the best from the 2009 HGTV Dream Home! Tons of great photos from every room all in one place.

I love the color scheme of the office. Orange and gray is a trendy color combination, but add in white trims and streamlined furnishings and the space retains a classic feel.

A traditionalist at heart, I’m drawn to the cool blue, classic furniture and elegant draperies in the living room.

What’s your favorite room? Plus, don’t miss any of the other spaces or the chance to enter the sweepstakes.

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Where does inspiration lie? I guess if you’re here, then you’re pretty much clued in that it can be anywhere.

I’ve been inspired to design rooms in my home around a business suit, the color palette on a bottle of conditioner, and, a couple of years ago, a retail store’s windows.

I currently live in what, decades ago, used to be a slaughterhouse. (Creepy, right? I can happily report that it’s not haunted — that I know of.) As a result, I’m lucky to have some pretty lofty ceilings. But with 15-foot ceilings comes a challenge: finding something to be a focal point in a room. Your average wall art runs the risk of getting lost in a sea of Sheetrock.

Perplexed with the task of finding something with positive impact that wouldn’t negatively impact my wallet, I took to the streets of Manhattan, a city whose stores, restaurants and hotels always seem to provide some amazing ideas.

Then I passed Anthropologie, a retail store that often has some pretty creative windows. It was there that I saw past the items on display and noticed the wall behind them. It was a beautiful combination of blues and creams, with just a hint of amber washed in here and there.

I knew then, that this was the look that I wanted in my living room. But how?

Canvasses that big can be expensive if they’re already stretched (hundreds of dollars, not to mention I’d never get it in my front door!), so I enlisted the help of my housemate Dennis, who used to work at a frame store, and was up for the task of making the biggest canvas support of his life. Then it was off to the hardware store to buy the wood, and the art supply store to buy a big piece of canvas.

The whole thing was put together right in my apartment, which yes, has high ceilings, but not a ton of square footage. The construction of the project crept into the living room, the kitchen and every surface that could collect sawdust.

I knew I’d never match the look of the store window perfectly (and no, I didn’t plan on putting the store name on the painting….I wasn’t going to be THAT literal!) but I knew the feeling I wanted to create.

Rather than pay the costly prices found on paint tubes from the art store, I went for latex wall paint at a nearby Home Depot and Lowes. With the help of Dennis, and even my mother, who was visiting for the weekend, we dabbed and blended away at the monstrous canvas. Everyone made a contribution to the final look. There was a pretty strong incentive to finish the piece…I couldn’t get it out of the apartment that easily!

I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Not only did I achieve the look I was hoping for, but it is also a reflection of the people close to me who rose to the challenge of doing something big and creative together. Still, when I look at the after photo I’ve posted here, I can’t help but want to edit out the little cube and plant, which are no longer there. Today, a long sofa sits in front of the piece.

If you have been inspired by a store window or hotel lobby — you name it — or if you’ve had a great time getting friends and family in on a design project, post a comment and share it!

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