Inspiration

The White Interior: Timeless or Trendy?

There has been one trend dominating the industry in the last few years – white interiors. Just open any social media site and you will see a whitewash of rooms with painted trim, all-white cabinets, and the ever-so-trendy Scandinavian-inspired room that is drenched in white from floor to ceiling. In 2016, Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams even named white tones as their colors of the year. Since then, homeowners and renovators have used white paint as a panacea. Moved into an old home with a lot of woodwork? Paint it white for a fresh look. What a small space to look bigger?  Wash the walls in white paint. Building a new home? Make sure your kitchens are all white so it doesn’t look dated.  

With the white dominating images from online and in design magazines, it begs the question: Are white interiors timeless or trendy?

When I meet with design clients, there tends to be two distinct camps. The first is the client that embraces whitewashing and the second are the wood-purists that would never dream of painting good solid wood cabinets. Neither of these approaches are wrong. Good design is about creating a balance between all visual elements. Just like how we inject a curved line to break up the visual rhythm of rectangular rooms for a more dynamic design, designers use color contrast for a larger visual impact. A well-designed home mixes wood tones, paint colors, and material in order to feel more luxe and unique to the homeowner.

In my opinion, white is timelessly chic and endlessly adaptable. It transcends style. The color lends itself well to all design aesthetics – from airy coastal interiors to glossy modern architecture and Scandinavian minimalism.

With white being so versatile, the question then becomes how to use it. If you want a more historical or traditional look then keep with stained wood millwork and bring in a warm-tone white on the walls to brighten up the room. For a coastal or contemporary look, go with white on the millwork and walls and then mix in more weathered materials to add warmth and texture to the space.

While shades of white are ever-so present in our day-to-day, for most of history white pigments were incredibly difficult to create and were therefore rarely used. We have British interior designer, Syrie Maugham to thank for popularizing rooms decorated entirely in shades of white. In 1927, she introduced her all-white room at her townhouse in London. Harper’s Bazaar described the room thus: “White walls, white satin curtains, white-flowered chairs, white lilies and the light softened by a white velvet lampshade, all give that modern feeling, which in conjunction with old furniture, is so attractive.”

Today, the goal is to use white strategically in order to maximize light and highlight artwork and furnishings. Luckily there are great products out there to help inject a bit of white into your home without having to get out your paint roller. Most cabinets companies carry at least one shade of bright white and one antiqued white so you can get that dream white kitchen but still have a factory finish cabinet for durability. One thing I am convinced of is that the white kitchen is here to stay for years to come. To bring home the look, many companies carry in-stock painted doors and mouldings that range from more traditional Colonial base to Mid-Century Modern 2-step casing.

The possibilities are endless! If you need a little direction, then we are here to help. We can help determine what your house needs in terms of stained or painted wood and then pick out the perfect color. Contact us today to schedule your in-home consultation with our expert designers.

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Note: this blog post is a part of a series of articles that JZID has written in coordination with Western Building Products. You can see this article published on their website, as well.



Wallpapers We Love

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great Easter and Passover weekend. I just got back from Pittsburgh from visiting my in-laws and checking in on their remodel that we've been working on. The star of the project has been the addition of some stunning wallpaper from Voutsa. It really turned out amazing! These koi fish brighten up my day - even during a typical Pittsburgh overcast. Check out our Instagram for a few more detail shots from the Pittsburgh project. 

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The right wallpaper adds so much to a space and we've been installing a lot of it. Wallpaper can get a bad wrap - a lot of people associate it with a over-designed country B&B's and think that it is impossible to get off. This design feature has been trending for a few years now so there are a ton of pattern and texture options to select from. And if the wall is primed right and the paper installed correctly then it shouldn't be impossible to later remove.

We've been loving wallpaper so much lately that we have installed it in a few Client's homes already and will be adding it to a few more designs in the next few months. Here is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of projects we've featured wallpaper. 

Elm grove makeover

This Client had recently bought a home in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. The overall house is very traditional but the homeowner is on the younger side and has a young family, so we wanted to add touches of whimsy to livened up the home. This powder room is on the first floor by the front entry and really gives any visitors an idea of the spirit of the family. The fun wallpaper we chose is called Guadeloupe from Thibaut. This wallpaper has so much character and feels so natural with the rest of the house. I'd love to install it in the other colorways! 

Cambridge Drive makeover

This is one of our most dramatic makeovers. Our Client's powder room featured both light blue paint and "pool liner" blue wall tile... it was a lot of look that just didn't fit the elegant feel of the rest of the home. What you can't see in the photo is that these walls are super high - like 12' high - and it has a skylight window shining down into the room. With the walls being so tall, we added 42" tall wainscoting and then wallpapered the top in Martello, Grey from Thibaut. This wallpaper is both graphically geometric and elegant. 

I love when Clients step out of their comfort zone and try new designs. Here are a few wallpapers that we would love to feature -  

Birds on Gray  by Voutsa

Birds on Gray by Voutsa

Nani in Poni  by Paper Mills

Nani in Poni by Paper Mills

Feather Grass  by Farrow & Ball

Feather Grass by Farrow & Ball

Nira in Grey  by Thibaut

Nira in Grey by Thibaut

Chameleon in Teal  by Thibaut

We keep finding new wallpapers to love everyday. Contact us if you'd like to see what wallpaper we have in mind for your home. 

Comment below your favorite wallpaper! I'd love to see what you've had your eyes on.

Minimalism + Managing Holiday Stress

If your week is anything like mine, then you are also in the weeds with Holiday craziness and scrambling to finish loose ends at work before the end of the year! I'll be traveling to Pittsburgh tomorrow to visit my in-laws and then off to my hometown the following week to celebrate with my side of the family. With so much to do, it's hard to power down enough to really embrace the special moments of the season. Going into this weekend, let's all take a moment to clear our head and think about one of my favorite aesthetic movements - Minimalism. In the art world, the Minimalism movement is defined as:   

/minəməˌlizəm/: an extreme form of abstract art developed in the USA in the 1960s and typified by artworks composed of simple geometric shapes based on the square and the rectangle

"Hang Up" by Eva Hesse (1966). Acrylic paint on cloth over wood; acrylic paint on cord over steel tube. 182.9 x 213.4 x 198.1 cm. The Art Institute of Chicago.

The Minimal aesthetic seeks a highly purified form of beauty in search of order, simplicity and harmony through literal depictions, repeated forms and direct engagement with the space it occupies. There is no display of artist emotion as in Expressionism. In fact, according to the Tate Modern, there was often a "deliberate lack of expression: With no trace of emotion or intuitive decision making, little about the artist is revealed in the work. Minimalist artists rejected the notion of the artwork as a unique creation reflecting the personal expression of a gifted individual, seeing this as a distraction from the art object itself. Instead they created objects that were as impersonal and neutral as possible." 

The movement was criticized by art critics of the day (and my husband any time we go to the museum) as being too cold and novelty. That the lack of standard aesthetic qualities that art should have was lessening the experience of the viewer and undervaluing the art object. 

The movement started to break up by the late 1960s, but the aesthetic marked a turning point in the history of modernism. The roots of the movement still remain hugely influential today for contemporary artists, architects, interior designers and product designers. You might have also heard about the Minimalist lifestyle that is such a buzz word right now.   

“The Marriage of Reason and Squalor, II”, by Frank Stella (1959). Enamel on canvas. 230.5 x 337.2 cm. MoMA.

"Two Open Modular Cubes/Half-Off", by Sol LeWitt (1972). Enamel on aluminum, 1600x3054x2330 mm. Tate Museum.

For us, Minimalism means creating interiors where every element of the design is taken into consideration and distilled into its purest form. All materials selected take into account how it will resolve when meeting other textures and forms. Layouts and furniture frame shapes are kept simple as to not become busy with intersecting and competing lines. Not all Clients want a pure Minimalist room, but every design should take these elements into consideration in order to create visual harmony.

Not sure if you want to go all the way and have your living room look like the Tate yet? One safe place to inject some of the aesthetic is in the bathroom. Take a look at these jaw-dropping bathroom fixtures we are currently gushing over!

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I feel like with bathrooms like these, Holiday stress wouldn't even phase me! They feel so calm and pure, but luxurious through the material selection. I'm especially in love with the Axor Starck Organics faucet in the first photo. Their entire collection is perfection (check it out here);  Let's build your new bathroom around it! Contact us today to get started on injecting a bit of that Minimalist philosophy into your home.  

2018 Color Forecast

It's the most wonderful time of the year... the color forecasts are in for 2018! And it's not all boring white and beige. Three of the major industry leaders have all chosen dramatic and deep colors that have historical significance while still feeling fresh and contemporary.

Just last week Pantone released their Color of the Year as Ultra Violet. Pantone helps set the tone for the design industry (graphic design/packaging, home decor, fashion and beauty) by taking into account what's currently trending and by selecting a color that their experts think we need in our world today.

And Pantone isn't alone. Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams also chose powerful colors. Benjamin Moore with a radiant red named Caliente and Sherwin Williams with a mesmerizing blue named Oceanside.

I can feel 2018 will be a very colorful year. Take a look below to see all the colors and inspiration images to get you in the mood for a whole new color scheme in the New Year. Enjoy!

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Need help selecting a fabulous color for your home? We can help with that! Contact us today for a consultation and we'll get started.

Loving Vincent

Has anyone seen the movie Loving Vincent that is in theaters now? The trailer is so captivating and it's received a lot of praise , I'm dying to see it! The movie is a really interesting take on a biopic about the world's most famous painter - Vincent van Gogh. Even from the few clips that I've seen, you can really tell that the film is a labor of love by directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. By commissioning tens of thousands of oil paintings from different artists, the filmmakers take on the question: What if van Gogh's paintings, with their vivid colors and bold brush strokes, had been able to move?

Watch the trailer here - 

If you live in the Milwaukee area, the movie is playing at the Oriental Theater on North Farwell for the next week or so. I'm planning on seeing it over the weekend. 

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night, Saint Rémy, June 1889, oil on canvas, 29 x 36 1/4". Source: MOMA

Van Gogh's paintings are infused with emotion, vibrancy and a sense of urgency. Probably one of his most iconic paintings, The Starry Night (1889), is a great example of how the painter used brush strokes to create expressive and emotive imagery. The painting is dominated by the moon- and star-filled night sky, depicted by turbulent, swirling patterns of wind rolling across the canvas like waves. Taking a note from his painter friend,  Paul Gauguin, van Gogh drew from direct observations as well as his imagination, memories, and emotions for this painting. Such a combination of visual contrasts was generated by an artist who found beauty and interest in the night, which he described in a letter to his brother, was “much more alive and richly colored than the day.”

Art and design have always had a symbiotic relationship and van Gogh's work has been a direct inspiration for us when designing for Clients. We've even used the Almond Blossom painting shown in the banner as wallpaper in a Client's dining room.

In our interior design world, we thrive on the emotions and drama that emanate from well thought out spaces. Rooms inspired by van Gogh have primary and complementary color palettes, balance created through asymmetry, movement through pattern and a slight sense of whimsy. Here are a few great examples: 

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A particular favorite element of van Gogh's subject matter to us is his ability to combine saturated, vibrant colors with natural earth tones. An exemplary painting of this juxtaposition is the 1889 work Irises (oil on canvas, 29 1/4 × 37 1/8", J. Paul Getty Musesum). The painting features various shades of green, blue and yellow against the natural browns of the soil. We were so inspired that we put together a style board based on this painting. 

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We love talking about what inspires us while designing - check out a previous blog post about John Rawlings's influence on interior design.