Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category
If you’re a serious cook, you know how important a well organized kitchen is, and how frustrating a kitchen can be if it isn’t! Your kitchen should be optimized for cooking, cleanup, and easy access to storage, and if it isn’t yet, here’s how.
Stoves: Electric vs. Gas
Perhaps the most important appliance in the kitchen, the stove is what brings on the heat. Electric stoves are useful, but can skyrocket your power bill and don’t heat up as quickly. A high-efficiency gas powered stove is more efficient than an electric, and can cook food more thoroughly and evenly. The placement of the stove is important – it should be within range of all the pots and pans that you might use, as well as the sink or food disposal unit, so that if something catches fire, it can be put out quickly.
So, that cute little dinosaur pancake mold you have isn’t used every single morning. Put it away, either in the very back of your cabinet, or in the basement or attic until it is needed. The space in your kitchen is in high demand; store only the pots and pans that you actually use on a daily basis in the kitchen. The same applies to spices; while you might use that obscure Russian brand of mayonnaise for that one special dish sometimes, by no means should it take up counter space. Keep the basic spices close at hand, as well as your mixing bowls, spoons, etc.
The single most used area of your kitchen. Many kitchens could benefit from the installation of a second sink, but if this is out of your budget, consider what you can do to free up work space around your sink. Try installing a goose-neck sprayer for easy cleaning of large pots and pans, as well as reaching all sections of your sink. Make sure that the pots and pans you use can fit inside of your sink for easy cleaning.
You should have plenty of free counter space in your kitchen. If at all possible, use a non-wooden counter top, or one with a glazed cover. True wooden counter tops can be nicked easily, and store pathogens and other undesirables inside the cuts. With the same logic that is applied to wooden cutting boards, wooden counter tops should be cleaned very thoroughly after use, especially when handling raw meats.
Your kitchen can be designed to suit your personal preferences, but they should also be the most efficient, streamlined rooms in your home. Keeping a kitchen clean reduces stress, and makes people want to cook, which results in a chain reaction of healthy choices down the line. A well designed kitchen can result in a myriad of tasty dishes being made, so everyone wins!
Gracie Gardner is an interior designer, photographer, and writer from Tucson, Arizona. She loves talking about cooking, kitchen remodeling, and design.
As the holidays roll around, you likely have a lot on your plate, both literally and figuratively. However, before you start enjoying the food and festivities, consider giving some attention to your home. After all, without a warm and welcoming house, the spirit of family and spending time with loved ones just doesn’t have the same meaning. Even if you are working on a limited budget, following through with a few simple and easy tasks can make a massive difference in your home’s appearance, thus letting you have an extra special and enjoyable holiday season.
One of the first things people notice when they walk into your home is the furniture located throughout the house. Odds are good that you have at least one piece of furniture that you’d like to hide, especially during the holidays. But you don’t necessarily have to buy new furniture; you can simply refinish your existing pieces to give them a completely new look.
For wood pieces, adding varnish or stain, after stripping the existing coats, can breathe life into these old pieces and have them looking like new after a quick and easy weekend project. If you are extra handy with fabric, reupholstering your couches, chairs, and love seats creates a new look that radically alters your home décor. So long as the existing framework and stuffing is usable, this idea can save you money and surprise your guests at Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Touching up Paint
Similarly, touching up the paint throughout the house can dazzle guests and create an entirely new aesthetic for your home. To start, spend a couple of minutes walking your house and pinpointing the problem spots in every room. With these notes, you can make a decision on completely repainting or merely touching up the areas in question. Of course, if you don’t have matching paint for touch ups, you will need to speak with a paint professional to find a new match. If the abrasions on the wall have significantly deep gouges or ruts, a simple dry wall patch can restore the integrity of the wall and give you the perfect canvas to redefine your home décor before the holidays.
Breathing Life into the Bathroom
Having a downtrodden bathroom is any holiday host’s worst nightmare. With this being the one room that everyone will need to visit at some point during the festive seasons, giving it a little love and attention is essential. To spruce up your bathroom before guests and relatives start arriving, try polishing the faucets, showerheads, and any other metal fixtures. This can help clean up hard water stains and mineral buildups. Doing the same with the porcelain bowl of the toilet, as well as installing a new seat for the commode, rounds out the process and gives your bathroom a look you can be proud of.
Polishing or Cleaning Flooring
Of course, no quick home renovation is complete without taking care of the floors. After taking the brunt of foot traffic throughout the home, your tile, carpet, or hardwood may be a little worse for the wear. However, with the right approach, you can undo some of this damage and restore your floors to “like new” condition. For hardwood floors, polish and restorative cleaners can help remove sneaker scuffs and other build up. Similar products are available for tile and linoleum. Carpet can be a little trickier, especially if you have pets or young children. However, renting or borrowing a carpet cleaner can help you fight back against even the toughest stains and gunk deposits.
Place an Emphasis on Organization
As far as cost-effective tricks that can help prepare your home for holiday guests, simply picking up the house and organizing your possessions will go a long way. By optimizing your closets, attics, basements, and other storage areas, you can hide away extra clothes and other things that you don’t need on a daily basis. You might even find it worthwhile to sort through items and sell or discard things that are only taking up space. This way, you not only have a tidy and neat home for the holidays, but you can enjoy this new approach to organization into the New Year and beyond.
Giving the Small Things a Little Love
If you want to go the extra mile after renovating rooms and organizing your possessions, turn your attention to the little things around the house. Cleaning door handles, cabinet and draw knobs, lampshades, power switch plates, and all other manner of accessories throughout the house can make a big difference in your overall home presentation. In some cases, you can replace these items for next to nothing, thereby giving your home a sharp, new look.
Preparing for the holidays doesn’t have to be a homemaker’s nightmare. With the help of these quick and easy tips, you can give your home a completely new look and dazzle your guests and love ones when they show up for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and everything in between, while also letting you sit back and enjoy a job well done – making the holiday season truly special.
About the author
Jim Van Landingham – Sales Professional in the Luxury Bath industry connecting architects, designers, dealers and contractors with luxury products for 18 years. Jim is a Family Man, Runner, IDPA Member, Artist and Cook and currently working as the VP of Sales in the Residential Division for Quick Drain USA.
Back to nature: The on trend materials being used by interior designers for 2013
Just like fashion, interior design can be fickle. But, there are some home trends that transcend seasons. And, no matter which other styles come and go, interior designers will always take their inspiration from Mother Nature.This year, the use of natural materials is not just a classic design staple, but is band on trend.
On show at both the London Design Festival and the Maison et Objet exhibition in Paris, furniture took on a very natural appearance and texture. Simple, raw wooden surfaces featured in many of the latest designer collections with pale, unvarnished woods like oak, beech and birch chosen for chairs, tables, bookcases and flooring.
The trend was encapsulated at the Victoria and Albert Museum when Royal College of Art students exhibited hardwood chairs, some of which were still seemed to be covered in lichen from the forest floor. At the 100% Design fair, the UK’s largest design trade event, Hungarian designer Nori Vido exhibited Twiggy, a solid walnut chair she says is inspired by a deer being startled by the sound of cracking branches in the forest.
Rather than hang a group of photographs or works of art, the trend for grouping small mirrors together is a recurring theme this year. At Tent London, billed as the most creative event in the design calendar, Annick Petersen of ALP Design showed off some rather dreamy leather-framed mirrors that looked a little like the doilies our grandmothers used to put under the fine china on the sideboard.
Cut glass, while once thought to be passé, has been given a style makeover. And, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get the look. Ikea has Julmys votives, for just £1.25, which bring a little bit of Great Gatsby-style glamour to your home.
Once the preserve of fire surrounds and bathrooms, marble has been brought into other parts of the home. At the Bagatti Valsecchi exhibition in Milan, Netherlands-based designer Tomáš Gabzdil Libertíny presented a solid marble chair. But, while there’s no getting around the fact marble is a very expensive material, you can add it to your home in the finishing touches, perhaps in a vase or photo frame. Or, Ferm Living has just added Marble wallpaper to its collection, which just looks like the real thing at a fraction of the price. At £53 a roll, you can cover an alcove or a feature wall.
Smart, funky, refined, leather comes in many forms and is a material well known to most of us. It’s just not a product often associated with interior design. People are accustomed to seeing it used on clothing and chairs. Specialist interior leather designer, Bill Amberg, recently said at his London exhibition that you can make leather from almost any hide including snakes, eels, ostrich, sheep and many more animal sources. The unique properties of leather can be used to perfection for touch and to see with longevity in the material. Leather products can have many values but don’t underestimate the value of true quality craftsmanship.
Plant Inspired Designs
While retro-inspired botanical prints have been on trend for some time now, they’ve come into their own for 2013. Simply called House, Orla Kiely’s new collection mixes two trends in one, with retro leaf-style patterns woven into natural wood furniture. MissPrint has launched leaf-print wallpapers with a 1950s vibe.
While the metals in our home in recent years have all had very much of a chrome or steel vibe, 2013 is all about a softer look. High-end appliances manufacturer Kohler, for example, is now producing its iconic Karbon faucet in a range of warm golds and bronzes along with cooler hues.
With a nod to old fashioned brass fire accessories, Tom Dixon’s Eclectic range is inspired by British heritage. Add a touch of opulence to your bedside table with beautifully scented candles in brass containers.
Whether you choose to bring the natural trend into your home through a few carefully chosen accessories or with a statement piece of furniture, it’s a style that’s sure to stand the test of time.
Bill began learning his artisan skills in Australia 30 years ago before opening his studio back in the 90’s. The studio creates bespoke products and interiors for individuals and companies across the world. Bill can be found in his London studio at Bill Amberg Studio.
Many people do not realize how important lighting is to interior design. Decorative lighting is one of the major factors that play into the process of creating the mood of a room and creating the meaning behind what you’ve put together. If you’ve just got a plain or flat lighting, you’re more likely to make people who come into your home uncomfortable. On the other hand, decorative lighting can create the comfortable, “homey” feel that you may be seeking in your Orange County Home.
One important function of a decorative lighting scheme is variation. Using various types of lights, different light levels, and sources that seem to focus on what the room is for. For example, an interior designer may suggest that you put dimmer lights in a bedroom (because it is for sleeping), but brighter lights in a family room or play area (because it is for “fun”). Determine what each room is for before starting to work with lighting, otherwise you could end up with some odd lighting arrangements that don’t match the room’s purpose.
Chandeliers are a great option for rooms where you want the lighting source to be a focal point. The objects that are underneath chandeliers become the focal point of the room due to the way that a chandelier diffuses light. You could use a pendant for the same purpose, even though the light diffusion differs. These are just examples of what you could do in your home; any Orange County lighting store can help you determine how each type of light will change the “feel” that your room(s) have.
You can use lighting to create these different moods in miscellaneous ways. Be creative, and see what you come up with while you’re decorating your home. You can find a variety of different lights that will suit your lighting needs at any Orange County furniture store.
If you are looking to redecorate your home and you want the help of an interior designer, there are a lot of options that you have with Orange County Interior Designers. Interior Designers in Orange County and around the world can help you figure out the best look for your home while listening to your thoughts and suggestions in the process. Most of all, have fun! Decorating is supposed to be fun, not stressful, so take the time to enjoy the experience as well.
About The Author: Ingo Schaer is the President and CEO of Interior-Deluxe.com. He has been in the lighting business for more than 20 years and is holding a bachelor degree in Electrical Engineering. He regularly blogs on a variety of Modern lighting and Interior Design topics, often focusing on practical solutions. You can find him on Google +.
Six Great Places to Find Modern and Contemporary Furniture in Orange County
Transforming an average home into a modern masterpiece is easy as pie in Orange County, California. The city boasts bountiful contemporary furniture and lighting stores and there are plenty of firms in town that specialize in interior design consulting. If you are looking for a new accent table for your living room or completely redesigning your home, the following six companies are some favorites in the Orange County region.
Metropolix Contemporary Furnishings
Metropolix Contemporary Furnishings is one of the most popular local furniture stores, located in Laguna Hills. This company specializes in unique contemporary furniture and home accents including sofas, beds, windows and door furnishings, coffee tables, desks, and chairs, each one with a touch of class and comfort. One of the aspects of Metropolix that customers love so much is that they supply furniture made in the USA that can be custom-sized with your choice of hundreds of fabrics. Shopping here, you can be sure that you will have a unique and personalized accent for your home.
Cantoni Modern Furniture
Cantoni is another favorite modern furniture store. Located in Irvine, California, Cantoni boasts ever-changing showrooms of contemporary furniture and home accents that are sure to open eyes. Almost everything you are looking for can be found in this store, from kitchens to bedrooms to living rooms, and more. Not too sure what you’re looking for, or maybe completely overwhelmed by the countless options? Never fear, Cantoni has interior designers working specifically to help you design the interiors of your dream home.
If you are looking for the perfect lighting accent for your home, explore Uni-Lite Lighting’s 32,000 square foot business in Anaheim. Specializing in indoor and outdoor lighting for both single rooms and entire homes, Uni-Lite is a local favorite for finding modern light accents that also serve as conversation pieces. This company has gotten to know the interior design trends in Orange County over the past forty years and have supplied their products not only to homeowners but also local architects and businesses.
Irvine is one of ten places in southern California where you can find Living Spaces. In addition to selling both modern and classic furniture, Living Spaces sells unique accessories to liven up your home or business. What makes a shopping experience here so special is how customer-friendly the business is. When you visit the store you receive a free cup of Starbucks and can leave your kids in a supervised play room while you shop. Online orders offer you same-day delivery for furniture you just can’t wait to see in your own home.
Plummers is yet another marvelous contemporary furniture company in Irvine. They supply furniture and accessories for indoor and outdoor use, either in the home or at the office. Their unique products have a fresh, fun, and relaxing appeal to consumers, which has helped the company become one of the best locations to find contemporary furnishings in Orange County. Fun fact: Plummers has installed solar panels at their warehouse in Petaluma, and they boast the fact that they use recycled wood and sustainable supplies in many of their products.
Pal + Smith Furniture
Pal + Smith may provide some of the most exceptional contemporary options for interior design in Orange County. Located in Costa Mesa, the company has pushed the boundaries of modern furnishings for the past thirty years. The bold colors and unique shapes of their furniture are bound to start conversations. Among many other major style magazines, Elle Décor recognized Pal + Smith in October 2011 as one of “The Best New Stores.” If you need help deciding the best combination of pieces for your home, Pal + Smith offers hourly consulting for interior design as well as a multitude of other services.
These six companies provide some of the best contemporary interior designs in Orange County. If you still aren’t quite sure where to start when designing or redesigning your home, you can contact Christopher James Interiors, one of the leading interior design firms specializing in finding the best accents for your home. Regardless of what vision you have for your interior, you can find exactly what you’re looking for in Orange County.
How To Incorporate The Elements Of Feng Shui Into your Home
Incorporating Feng Shui into your interior design brings balance and good fortune to your home. More than just picking attractive furniture and decor, the placement and arrangement of furnishings and accessories, as well as deliberate color combinations, can make a significant difference in the “Qi” or energy of the room.
However, you still want to make sure that your Orange County home is visually appealing and functional, so you will want your Feng Shui interior design to balance the basic beliefs of the Eastern practice along with modern tastes.
Below are a few tips on how to improve the energy in your house and bring luck to your life, while adding the decorating flairs and touches that gives your home personality:
Position furniture carefully.This tip is both practical and feng shui-related: careful positioning of furniture improves the energy’s flow throughout the room. Furniture should not prevent free passage through the room as this blocks both your daily path and the Qi from flowing naturally. Ideally, seating areas should be flush with a wall, instead of facing a walkway or another room.
Separate work and rest areas. Avoid setting up a work office in your bedroom. The energy of a work space will prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep if it is set up in the bedroom.
Lighting. Light plays a major role in feng shui, as it is a major source of good energy. Soft lighting is linked with positive energy which wall sconces provide. Without proper illumination, carefully picked color combinations, decor and furniture may not be as effective for a feng shui lifestyle. Our eye tends to be drawn to where the light is shining, so by spotlighting certain objects and areas, you are able to support your intentions. Avoid dark corners, which can absorb and stall the flow of energy, by filling them with a source of soft light.
De-clutter! Clutter is considered to be a major burden in feng shui. De-cluttering is believed to be absolutely fundamental to ensuring balance in the home, as clutter blocks the flow of energy. On a practical level, clutter can lead to increased stress levels.
Remove clutter from all rooms in the house. One of the best places to start is the bedroom, where you want the most relaxation as possible. Create a “keep”, “relocate” and “trash” pile for all the items littered on the surfaces and floors of each room. Then, relocate the items to their proper locations, and throw away the trash. Organize the “keep” items into drawers, shelves or labeled boxes for easy access.
Mirrors. A key accessory in feng shui interior design, mirrors are believed to reflect positive energy and prevent the flow of negative energy. Placement is key, however. Avoid putting a mirror facing the front door, as you don’t want to bounce the positive energy entering the house to creep its way out. Mirrors should also be used sparingly (if at all) in the bedroom. Bedrooms are considered calm spaces with more yin energy; mirrors bring a lot of yang energy, canceling out the calming yin needed in the bedroom.
Live plants, fresh fruit and cut or potted flowers. Indoor plants, floral bouquets and fresh fruit all generate positive energy. Potted plants also represent earth and wood elements (two of the five feng shui elements needed for harmony and balance).
However, you should avoid using dried flowers. Dried flowers are considered sources of bad energy in feng shui as they represent something that is dead. Throw away all dead or dying plants, including wilting flowers. The exception is if the dried bouquet is a keepsake from someone dear to you, then the energy associated with it is positive.
Add a water feature. Considered a symbol of wealth and prosperity, it is important to incorporate water elements in your feng shui decorating scheme. A water feature is an eye-catching way to add two of the five essential elements of feng shui (wind and water). Whether you choose a water fountain, a water wall or a fish tank, a water feature is a soothing focal point to any room, promoting relaxation. Be careful not to add water features to the bedroom as it can introduce the element of worry.
Mix up your shapes. Each shape represents a different feng shui element: square (wood), round/oval (metal), striped and floral (wood), wavy (water) and pointy (fire) shapes all need to be present in your accessories and decor to ensure balance. Mixing and matching is not only an excellent way to bring harmony into your living space, but it also adds depth and dimension to your interior design.
Choose colors carefully. Intentionally choosing the right colors for each room is key in feng shui, as each color and color combination represent different types of energy. Green is linked with hope and nature, yellow with power and red is considered auspicious. Orange helps create an atmosphere of ease and promotes conversation in large groups of people, making it an ideal color for living rooms and other areas where you plan on hosting guests. Blues and greens can also help promote a calm atmosphere, which are perfect for bedrooms and other locations designed for relaxation and rest.
With these simple feng shui tips, you can improve balance and harmony in your Orange County abode and life all without having to invest in crazy interior design schemes or busts of Buddha and other auspicious statues. Just keep in mind the importance of the flow of energy and incorporate a few well-chosen and well-placed accessories to fully reap the benefits of feng shui.
Marcela De Vivo is a freelance writer, yoga enthusiast and business owner in the Los Angeles area. In addition to incorporating feng shui into her yoga and meditation room, she also includes the elements of feng shui throughout the rest of her home. Follow her on Pinterest today!
Hello Christopher James Interiors readers. My name is Edward and I am excited to be guest blogging for you all today. Now that summer is finally here it’s time to let the warm summer air in. Spring is behind us, so why not let the bright friendly vestiges of summer enter your home? When you’re decorating for summer, you’ll want to keep a few details in mind to get that fresh summery look.
Summer décor is all about color…pale blues, whites, greens and vibrant colors. Since you can’t go repainting your house multiple times per year, an easy way to influence the general color scheme for the season is to go with neutral colors in your furniture and walls, and to accent it variably depending on the season. Or if you’re bold enough, just go for it and paint your walls a bright color like the brightly painted orange living room below. I like to hang up summertime artwork with bright framed art prints, or do something as easily as switching out decorative pillows on my couch, using a pale green table cloth, or hanging up lighter linen summer curtains.
The hallmark of summer is, of course, living and growing things. Before it gets warm go and make starters for all your garden plants and place them strategically around your house to add a splash of green near your windows. In addition, you can hang plant baskets from the ceiling that will eventually have greenery spilling down over the sides in a very aesthetically pleasing manner. If you’re not sure what you’d like to plant, place a pot near a window and simply toss seeds or food waste in there while you’re cooking to see what germinates. I’ve accidentally started kiwi plants, bell peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers, all of which make for some fairly attractive plants while they’re still young.
One important component that tends to be forgotten is the lighting in your home. In the winter you’ll have heavy curtains shut tight to hold out the chill and your lighting will be artificial or from your fireplace. In the summer, it’s time to let the sun shine in. Get rid of any heavy curtains and replace them with light, more permeable looking ones. If that’s not an option just open them up wide. Remove any obstructions that keep the light from entering the room. If you have small windows or not very many of them you can make the most of the light you do get by placing mirrors opposite your windows to reflect and spread the light into the space more effectively.
To create a bright open feel, open up your floor space by rearranging your furniture. To maximize your floor space and get that wide open feel, position your furniture up against your walls, facing inward. Additionally, using glass tabletops or décor items like vases will help to limit the sense of obstruction you feel from the things that are placed in the middle of the room, while also helping to further reflect and refract incoming light to brighten up the space.
I hope some of my tips will inspire you to create a bright new look for your rooms. Let me know what you’re doing in your home to create a light and summery feel. I’d love to see what influences and inspires you, so send in your photos and comments! Have a great summer!
Edward is an art and decoration enthusiast as well as an online publisher. He writes on topics of art, history, design, and home decor.
Hello, I’m Joanna and I am a blogger for Arcadian Lighting, a premier online source for captivating interior and exterior lighting fixtures. My days are spent searching the web for beautiful interior design images and ideas to share on interior design blogs. I’m honored to be writing a guest post for Christopher James Interiors. Today I’ll be focusing on summery orange spaces. This hue translates well across all styles from modern to traditional. It works well with many accent colors such as turquoise or pink. I’ve collected images of several rooms below. Be sure to comment and let me know which is your favorite.
An Asian inspired living room is dressed in vibrant orange and turquoise. The wallpaper ties the decor together beautifully.
Summer is in full bloom in this sunroom with deep orange walls and pink and white modern furniture. A hint of orange in the rug would be nice to anchor the colors.
A modern space is layered in orange hues with just a hint of pastels in the artwork and rug. The pendant lights are especially pretty.
A transitional dining room gets its own hint of orange on the tufted dining chairs and colorful artwork.
This contemporary bedroom is dressed in crisp white with not-so-subtle orange accents. The headboard is particularly interesting.
An Asian-inspired space boasts deep orange walls with light green panels. Suzani print pillows tie the room’s colors together. The nail head accented tables flanking the bed are a nice feature.
A stunning bedroom has so many lovely elements such as the floral-infused walls and ceiling and the plethora of fabric on and surrounding the bed. The orange hues cover the spectrum from pumpkin to the softest peach. The beautiful pendant light mimics origami.
This minimalist bedroom gets a jolt of energy from the bold orange on the walls and bed.
Orange is the perfect color for summer, so which one is your favorite? Comment below and be sure to visit Arcadian Lighting for more helpful style and inspirations.