Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Managing Time

A little bit of irony: We are all often worrying about using time efficiently and having enough time to do everything that must be done.  Most people have said "if only there were another 2 hours in each day!" at least a few times in their lives.  Finding ways to be more efficient just makes sense.

I wonder how many hours most people have lost to reading about time management habits and methods?  I got hooked by a fantastic write-up about an article on just this topic; after 15 minutes of reading I realized that:

  • The author was saying nothing that I didn't already know, plus he repeated everything in at least 3 different ways - he certainly didn't use his time wisely either, as it takes longer to do the same thing multiple times but with variation.
  • Reading about managing time is about as effective as reading about exercising is to losing weight.
  • The 15 minutes I gave to this article could have accomplished something.
But I shouldn't complain... I did gain something: a topic for today's Thursday's Thoughts!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thursday's Thoughts: Inspirations

Maybe they are in fact inspirations, but sometimes it seems like they are fixations, fascinations, or even random things that just have to somehow work their way out of our systems... We all have them -these little things that get into our minds and we feel that we absolutely must feed them one way or another.

Glass countertop in the kitchen
There are two materials that I have been desperately wanting to incorporate into designs recently (but certainly not together!): burlap and glass counter tops. Glass countertops have always appealed to me, as long as I am not responsible to keep them smudge-free, but recently I find that I have to hold back from suggesting them to clients who I know won't ever be persuaded in that direction.

Burlap from Designer Fabrics Online
Burlap??? It's a texture thing; I've done the leather, the silk, the faux-fur... (All make great contrasts with burlap, by the way.) Burlap makes for great accents and can be worked into any style, not just rustic.

Bold and dramatic for a dining room
There are also a couple of very specific projects I have been itching to do: a plum-purple-coloured dining room and a mechanic's place. Yup, the usually neglected place where you have to sit to wait while your car is being serviced. And I don't mean a nice fancy car dealership, I really do mean a typical little mechanic's shop.

   What ideas are stuck in your head at the moment?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Trends for 2011 - Beyond Colour

I find that in recent years the trends for interior design have been making a gradual transition rather than anything drastic suddenly appearing on the market.

Pottery Barn's knit throws
We are continuing to see hand-made, or hand-made-looking, items and I predict (very happily) that this is a trend that will continue; the ever-growing success of websites such as Etsy and Artfire are testament to this fact. Traditional folk art is a big influence (tole painting, embroidery, metal arts...), and quilting, knitted and crocheted items, and bead work are going to be seen everywhere and in all sorts of surprising combinations.

Restauration Hardware's Aviator Chair

Pottery Barn Kids crystal dream catcher
Texture, and the contrast of textures, is still playing a major role in design and decor, both for residential and commercial applications. Hammered metal with wood and glass. Crystal with feathers and mirror. And texture can easily be used to set the tone of a room - see how the Aviator Chair can instantly infuse a space with a retro / vintage look.

Popular motifs are birds, especially owls, postage, and anything in silhouette.  Silhouettes are versatile - depending on the design they can have a Victorian feel to them (think of old cameo brooches), a fun almost child-like appeal, or a very style-neutral way to introduce a motif.

Niki Jones' Twitwoo owl cushion
Cottage and Vine's silhouette dishtowels
Crate and Barrel's Marimekko bathroom set

Mobilia's Executive pillow is made of recycled ties!
The natural element is proving to be at least as much about the environment as about aesthetics, and is evolving to also include recycled or re-purposed materials.
Crate and Barrel's Maganda vase

Hopefully I won't start sounding too repetitive, but select the items that you love.  Trends aren't only about specific materials, individual colours, or the shape of something; trends are about the finished space when the different pieces are put together.