Sunday, March 1, 2015

Please vote for Design Vignettes!




Design Vignettes has been nominated for the second year in a row for Best Blogger Interior Design! My blog is up against a number of design blogs that have also been nominated (13 total in the Interior Design category) so every vote counts. If you enjoy this blog on a regular basis, I would truly appreciate your vote of support! 

Even more so, I would like to know why you follow this blog. Do you like the before and after makeovers, the sharing of design trends, local design event coverage, or other art related content? Is there a topic you would like to learn more about? Are you interested in reading more personal posts that are not design specific? Or do you rarely read blogs anymore and prefer a stream of Instagram images?

Since starting this blog in 2009, my life has certainly had a lot of significant changes ... from being a stay-at-home-mom of 4 who needed a creative outlet, to becoming a design show participant (on 8 different occasions), to creating a years worth of issues of a digital design magazine, to guest blogging for dozens of brands, to being invited to several design blogging events across the country, to working full-time for 3 different companies over the last 5 years.

I know that the opportunities that have presented themselves have without a doubt been influenced by the simple act of writing this blog, which helped to define my creative path. And how fun has it been to connect with and meet other design bloggers on the same journey!

And while my blog posts have certainly decreased as my work life has become more structured – and as my growing boys lives have required a new type of attention – I still feel compelled to post every now and then for whatever reason. To those of you who continue to come back to check in, thank you! And my sincerest gratitude to any of you new visitors who stopped by today and read to the end : )

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Conference Room Makeover



This is a #throwback makeover, from a couple years ago. My task was to choose paint color, carpet, and design elements for the Designer Bath conference room, where we often hosted invitational Lunch + Learns for the design community.

Above is the “After. Below is the eye-sore before ...




This support beam posed the biggest challenge. After much thought, simply wrapping it tightly with rope created an interesting texture in the room, while referencing the company’s early years when still located in the seaport town of Salem, MA. The decorative orange tree, taking a cue from the company’s brand colors, adds brightness and life to the corner of this window-less office space. 





The new paint colors for the walls in the conference room and adjoining cubicle area both had to coordinate with the new commercial grade carpet we chose from Landry and Arcari. 









To finish the space, cut vinyl was added to the conference room walls. On one side, the Designer Bath logo in white, and on the monitor wall we added a reflective wave pattern taken from their Salem Plumbing logo.

At my new position at White Light Visual, this is the type of project we are often called upon to design and execute – branding corporate, retail, and institutional environments through “visual marketing. To me, its just another form of art.

















Sunday, February 1, 2015

Magic Carpets + Makeovers

New home with new furniture plus one of my favorite carpets from Bassett.

After spending the last year recommending sofas, ottomans, chairs, accent tables, and more, I am very certain of one thing: anchoring the space with the right carpet is the best way to achieve a well designed look. The carpet adds visual harmony, often bringing in the colors of the fabrics, incorporating the shades of the wood furnishings, or adding an additional layer of color, all while presenting a feeling of luxurious comfort to the space. Even with all new furniture, a room just does not look “right if all the legs are on a naked floor.

My best interior makeovers have always included a new carpet to tie our selected design elements together. Below are some of my recent favorites ...


Handcrafted dining furniture paired with host chairs and carpet from Bassett.


A large scale geometric carpet adds a modern touch to this classic bedroom.




– Simple With Elegance –

A floral and lattice style carpet lightens up the heavy black dining furniture.



 A simple stair runner from Karastan paired with a wool carpet from Bassett.


This stairway is adjacent to the dining room above. All colors and patterns had to work together in this open and connected space. Likewise, the colors on the second floor pulled from the same palette of soft blues and warm neutrals so that each room would flow from one to the other. The small square below shows a fresh, organic style area rug that we selected to coordinate, yet contrast, with the traditional patterned carpet that the homeowner was using in her walk-in closet.






– A Modern Victorian –


For this makeover, the homeowner had already chosen her furnishings, but was at a loss on how to choose the right carpet to work with her jewel toned fabrics in her traditional Victorian-era home. We looked at a number of different carpet choices, from wool geometric patterns to solid shags. The key was finding the right color and pattern that could hold its own with the saturated palette of the pieces in the room.

  

Along with determining the right carpet for her space, we also had custom pillows made in fabrics that worked with her bright colors and bold patterns. This may have been a small project design-wise on my part, but having this type of professional guidance at the end was just what the client needed.




“I finally unrolled the carpet (busy week) and wow, you were brilliant with this one. We were working with difficult variables, and this final piece pulls it ALL together. Thank you so much. It is the happy room I want! – Lynn P.



Finished room with new carpet and pillows.


Custom bolster pillows in citrus-bright geometric pattern from Bassett.



– A Pink and Green Prepped Room –



I loved working with this sweet, and traditional, client on her new downsized home. She was very confident that she wanted to incorporate her favorite color, pink, throughout. These photos show how the custom furniture that we selected looked in her brand new space soon after she moved in. Notice how the carpet is not to scale? Choosing an appropriately sized one was next on the list, along with accent tables, window shutters, artwork, and the hanging of a pretty chandelier over the dining area. The room will not be as inviting as it can be until these last pieces of the design puzzle are in place. 








Follow my Instagram account for future updates on my design related projects. This year I will be working at Bassett by appointment only. I will also be working on some large scale creative projects for corporate, retail, and even pop-up spaces via White Light Visual in Beverly. How I ended up there is a story for another day ...












Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Tradition at Endicott Mansion


Earlier this month, the Danvers Historical Society held their winter gala at the Endicott Mansion at Glen Magna Farms. Florists and artists were invited to deck the halls. I was more than happy to return to this former show house to style my decorated rooms with wintery floral arrangements plus a bit of holiday glam. With snowflake-like wallpaper from Farrow and Ball, the decorations could remain simple ...


evergreens with white roses



sparkle on the bookshelves



feathery arrangement displayed in a winter white vase
from Janus et Cie via The Boston Design Center



whimsical DIY snow globes ... just for fun







How are you decorating your favorite
rooms this holiday season?










Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A family-friendly great room makeover


I finally had a chance to visit one of my first Bassett makeover rooms to take after photos. As with most projects, this one was completed in stages. Below are the design details ...


– before photos –


BEFORE: this family room was in need of new furnishings after the homeowners had given some of their pieces to children who had moved into their own homes. The homeowners visited Bassett, and we set up a time for me to come see the space. With young grandchildren often in the house, they wanted to create a warm and cozy room that was child friendly, yet comfortably inviting for adults. All existing pieces could go with the exception of the bar which at the time was front and center next to the fireplace.





During our makeover visit, I measured the perimeter of the room along with pieces that would be staying. Back in the Bassett design studio, I put together this floor plan which made it clear that the bar could easily be moved behind the sectional, creating a more family oriented focal point that combined television and fireplace together on one side (before the television was where the bar is now). The high bar seats can now also easily turn to view the TV and serve as additional seating when family and friends are over for the game. 



Alex Sectional with Custom Storage Ottoman

We selected a new chaise sectional in a soft charcoal colored fabric which now offers plenty of seating while also being a nice spot for reading (or napping). The pair of existing ivory chairs were eliminated from the pathway between the doorways and were replaced with a fun, large scale rustic sideboard that is highlighted with an appropriately scaled colorful piece of abstract art (also from Bassett). Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray on the walls softens the high ceiling lines, keeping the focus on the room below. On the gleaming hardwood floors we added a luxurious viscose carpet that both looks beautiful and feels great under bare feet.







Rexford Mist Carpet



Sherwin Williams Sedate Gray SW6169








One of my favorite pieces that I recommended for this room makeover is the Bishop Swivel Chair which we upholstered in a small scale, pewter colored print pattern. Its a fabric that’s easy to live with, yet modern and stylish. 






Bright bits of turquoise and sea glass colors add interest to the neutral palette of this newly designed living space.






It was a real pleasure working on this room makeover, and Im glad that the space is being enjoyed (when I was over last, I got to meet the adorable grandchildren : )

Do you have a room thats ready for a new look? Contact me to set up a makeover appointment. {yblacker@verizon.net}




Monday, September 29, 2014

Adding Style with Saturated Colors


art  //  lamp  //  bachelor's chest  //  carpet  //  bedding  //  accent pillow




I was recently asked by Chairish, an online shopping site for vintage and used home furnishings, to create a bold and bright room featuring my favorite accent chair from their curated collections. Vintage chairs are a particular weakness of mine, so I could not pass up this unique design challenge!

I selected an elegant vintage slipper chair in yellow velvet as my inspiration, then paired it with equally bright new pieces from Bassett Furniture that had a classic or vintage feel to them. An over-dyed Persian style carpet, a Robert Allen watercolor-like fabric, and an abstract knife gel giclee combine for a rich and colorful palette. The large scale upholstered bed adds visual balance to the space by remaining neutral in color.

Often times I am working with clients who want to incorporate a much loved piece, like a vintage chair, into their plans for a renovated room. The key is to make all the pieces, old and new, look as if they are speaking the same language. Repeating the shape of a leg, duplicating the finish color, or choosing pieces that seem to be from a similar time period, helps to bridge the gap from the past to the present. Including a modern twist, like these deeply saturated colors, keeps the space looking fresh.

If you are looking to add some lively pieces with vintage patina to your newly designed spaces, check out the decorative objects that are also available via the Chairish site ... 


  














Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Room of the Week: Tailored Grays + Citrus



One of my Bassett room makeover clients recently sent me the photo above of her newly furnished family room. I love it! Amy came in one weekend and together we pulled a palette of menswear inspired fabrics for a pair of tailored custom sofas. We dressed the Keaton Accent Chair in a handsome gray and yellow plaid while the extra large round ottoman – my personal favorite – is wearing a classic animal print in a luxurious gray and cream chenille. Embroidered-style citrus bright accent pillows add a lively contrast while a round Wakefield Lamp Table in a warm cream finish softens the corner between the two sofas. Amy’s addition of the white shag rug is perfection! 







I love working with people who have an idea of what they like, but are willing to step outside of their comfort zone to achieve a designer look. The best part? From design concept (Amy and I met over a couple of weekends to finalize details) to the actual date of delivery (with the room being painted in between with a Sherwin Williams color inspired by our showroom) took less than two months. #happycustomer #happydesigner

Are you ready for a room makeover?