Ice, Ice, Baby by Michelle Everett

I thought I would continue last week's theme of fabulous materials.

This one is a little known gem. Cast glass. Yes, you heard me right. Glass, as a luxurious material.

Beauteous samples from John Lewis.

Beauteous samples from John Lewis.

Look at it...it's stunning stuff.

I don't see a lot of designers using it and if you create custom pieces...this would be the bomb!

Par exemple, s'il vous plait?

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While working for Bill Sofield we designed this nightstand. The inset top is a piece of cast glass with a gold gilt edge. Ouch!

Oh and yes, that is a leather clad frame with cerused oak draw and shelf. That's how we rolled.

And what is even better? Practically indestructible. I mean it's a 2 inch thick piece of glass?!?! No need to worry about water ruining that top.

One of the best sources out there is John Lewis Glass in Oakland California. Wonderful group of artisans. They've been doing it for years and are a to breeze to work with.

Sky's the limit...what else can you imagine?

 

Dream Weaver by Michelle Everett

One of the things I love about my job is working with amazing artisans. With them I have the chance to create one of a kind pieces for clients. The only thing that holds me back is my imagination. 

Particularly, I really like hand woven textiles. Man, talk about the ultimate luxury. Silk, linen, cotton and mohair construct whatever pattern we dream of. 

Some of the best vendors are Sam Kasten, Mitchell Denburg and Tara Chapas. I have worked with them all and they're amazing.

Just a few handwoven textiles

Just a few handwoven textiles

I know it may seem daunting but the process is really feasible.  You pick a pattern from the collection and provide a color reference. They then make a control sample for approval. Voila!

In the past creating such items was extremely costly and time consuming. But now the same vendors I've mentioned have harnessed new mills and technology that has brought the cost down and sped up the timeline.

Also most large fabric houses are using the synthetic fibers that don't even stand up to water. I mean, really!!

So come on, create something one of a kind. Something you don't see in shelter magazines. You and your client deserve it.

Rituals by Michelle Everett

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This week work has taken me to San Francisco. I enjoy the opportunity it provides. A change of scenery, I get to work with the best vendors and the travel perks are pretty nice too!

For entertainment, I decided to reread Twyla Tharp's book The Creative Habit. It's been almost 14 years since I pulled it from the shelves of Charlotte Moss's shop on East 63rd. 

I'm pretty sure the first reading was completely lost on me. I was not even 30 and, as I look back, was overly confident in my understanding of the world and life. 

I want a deeper insight into my process and hopefully discover better tools. As Kanye said, "Work it, make it, do it...Makes us harder, better, faster, stronger!" 

One of Tharp's admonishments is to develop creative rituals. Tasks that are performed every time (or everyday) you create.

It can be anything. Light a candle when writing. Loud music when painting. As long as it becomes a Pavlovian trigger to work. 

Ritual. Click. Create.

Let's face it, creating is hard. Any type; business, science and yes, arts. I think it's one of the reasons it's easy to get distracted and procrastinate. 

Personally, I have developed a morning ritual. Every single morning begins the same. 

Rise 6am. Drink large glass of lemon water.

Make-up. Dress.

Feed and walk dog for 30 minutes.

20 minute meditation.

Eat.

Make my bed and walk out the door.

Same routine, day in, day out.

But since starting my weekly diary, I need a writing ritual. It's not a muscle I flex often..and it's weak.  

What are your rituals? Leave me a comment below.

Walking A Fine Line by Michelle Everett

Last week I was in Los Angeles for work. There are much harder things in life.

One of my first comments to younger clients, "there are two things that make a room feel finished. An area carpet and window coverings."

I know it seems logical but if you get those two things right, your friends will be amazed. And no, you shouldn't make decisions to just empress them but just consider it a fringe benefit!

Maybe it's because people don't usually buy those items. Does it seem like a major commitment? Or afraid of making a mistake?

I can help. This week I'll focus on area carpets.

Make sure your carpet is the correct size. More often than not, I see tiny carpets with nothing on them but the coffee table. Or maybe it's an island in a lonely room. *sigh*

hellooo.....

hellooo.....

Ah, not sure what this accomplishes but it appears very cold and uninviting.

A carpet grounds the space and provides texture and warmth. If you end up with one that is too small it creates visual uncertainty. Where does one step, on the carpet? Maybe not???

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Choose one your furniture is comfortably positioned on.

An easy way to figure an ideal size is to offset from the walls a specific distance. Maybe 6 inches? Or you could do 9? Just depends on the room shape and size.

It's not so scary buying a carpet. Go big or go home.

 

Mad, Mad, Management by Michelle Everett

This one is for my fellow compadres in the design industry.

I've been thinking a lot about the variety of offices I've worked in. I think we all agree that our work environment can have a profound effect on us. I'veexperienced bosses who are divisive, scream (a lot) and have no idea what it means to lead.

If this is their example, makes you a little fearful for the future generation.

It's like we're learned management theory from binge watching Mad Men. 

Great interiors...not so great management skills

Great interiors...not so great management skills

There are plenty of wonderful writers on the topic. One is Simon Sinek. His books, Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last are truly great explorations in what makes great leaders and brands. 

He even gave a TedTalk.

One major take away, to inspire potential clients and employees we need to talk about why we are interior designers. Focusing on that gives us power and meaning.

Also employees present a chance to lead. Leaders have trust and confidence in those they work with. Reflect this in actions and you'll win their hearts. Win their hearts and they'll move heaven and earth for you.

Imagine what your company could do if the employees were dedicated to what you do.

What is one simple change you can make? Give them ownership over something. Maybe it's a project or a deadline. Then help them to succeed.

The Illusion of Perfection by Michelle Everett

Two weeks ago I stated that too many people confuse perfection for beauty. Or that an illusion of perfection is touted on most forms of social media. But when experienced, one knows it's much more complex. More than a stylized magazine cover or Instagram image.

Just Google it...go ahead, I'll wait.

'the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit'

I hope everyone has the chance to experience a space like that.

One of mine was at Denis Severs' House several years back. Severs worked to turn a Georgian row house into what he termed as a 'still life drama'.

At once beautiful and other times grotesque, the rooms tell the story of a fictitious family of 18th century Huguenots silk weavers. 

Dining Room

Dining Room

The spaces are meant to tell an intimate story of a family who seem to be just around the corner.

Bedroom

Bedroom

Severs lived in rooms where walls are water stained, dusty and even decrepit. But they also brim with life and warmth. Something we should all want our homes to have.

My point to you would be, instead of trying to emulate an illusion, try to create a home that truely reflects you. Your interests, personality and above all, your depth. That is a home anyone would want to visit.

Inspiration by Michelle Everett

Last year I spent time traveling through southern Italy.  Experiencing such beauty and amazing historical architecture is very stimulating.  My aesthetic observations and experiences inspire designs in the most unexpected ways.  Sometimes it's a floor or ceiling pattern or maybe the combination of colors used in a space that catches our imagination.   Later, sometimes, I'll translate that inspiration into the design of lights, hardware details or even fabric combinations.

Also important is time away from technology. If were not constantly entertaining ourselves we can actually contemplate. Purposeful boredom can do wonders in advancing our ideas.   

Nature of Beauty by Michelle Everett

"I love beauty...it's not my fault."  Valentino

I can relate. I have early memories of trying to make my childhood home more attractive. It's strange that neither of my parents realized the importance. Both had lovely homes growing up.

But sometimes I'd refinished a piece of found furniture or strip the living room wallpaper to paint. I'd do anything to create a sense of order and space.

My fascination originated in trips to my father's parents home. Pioneers in some sense, they filled their home with antiques. It wasn't that their house was architecturally interesting or even grand but I was enthralled with it's treasures.

I loved going into my grandfather's study. The shelves were lined with various items carved in ivory, jade and cinnabar. His writing desk was French with this amazing ormolu. He would sit in there for hours and read or listen to classical music.

Growing up poor in Cleveland, he would of had no context of these things. Yet they were fascinating to him and gave him tremendous joy.  

Those visits and spaces had a profound influence on me. I loved spending time in that house and wanted to return often. Homes are not about creating a stage set. It's the backdrop of our personal experiences....and heaven knows they're not perfect.

Needless to say I love being in these types of spaces. There's a sense of clarity, enjoyment and even singularity. At times it's hard to explain but I do know this...it's not perfection (I'll talk about that next week). A lot of you confuse the two. I blame Instagram and Facebook. We all showcase a curated illusion.

Beauty in all forms and styles has depth and richness. Informed by history even if only to rebel. Alexander McQueen knew that. 

Strive for more than what marketers sell you.

FOUND BEAUTY:-

Regardless of your preferred style, these Rococo mirrors are stunning. The shape alone makes a statement.

Artisans by Michelle Everett

The benefits of working with some of the best artisans, craftspeople, showrooms and workrooms in the business are tremendous.  The expertise and knowledge of these professionals helps lead to informed decisions about design and execution.  Each project presents myriad decisions to be made, and most of the best design solutions and decisions are the result of prodigious training, study and experience.  Our excellent artisans artisans and craftspeople understand the level of service that we and our clients expect, and together we achieve exceptional results.

Let's illustrate the process. The image above is of a master bedroom in a private residence in Connecticut.  We worked Pierre Finkelstein's decorative painting studio Grand Illusions to create the hand painted wall pattern.

Generally the process is this...

CONCEPT

Original Concept Image

Original Concept Image

The house has traditional Federal architecture and details.  We found this image in a book of Victorian patterns by Carol Blanger and could be generally described as an 19th century Indian design during colonial rule. 

DESIGN DEVELOPMENT
The studio creates samples as per our original concept and color direction.  We then work with the client to select the sample best suited to their needs.  And next...they create the pattern in its entire length to develop the template for installation.

Concept Samples

Concept Samples

INSTALLATION
This particular design was painted entirely by hand.  Yes, all by hand.  To do this the crew has to work as a well-oiled machine.  It took them only 6 days to complete

Final Wall Pattern

Final Wall Pattern

Pierre hand painting the wall pattern

Pierre hand painting the wall pattern

WHY HIRE AN INTERIOR DESIGNER? by Michelle Everett

Lots of people are apprehensive about working with designers. Their concerns are derived from bad experiences, friend's horror stories or lack of experience working with one.  And they have questions, lots and lots of questions. Will the designer listen to me?  Am I going to be forced into a style I don't like?  How much is it going to cost? Our profession provides many major benefits and below are just 3 clients should expect.

Professionalism
Whether it’s maximizing your space, renovating your bath or a highly attuned sense of aesthetics, we are educated, trained and licensed.  You’re hiring us to design AND execute.  To do this we have technical and practical understanding to keep everything organized and on track.  Initial estimated budgets and timelines provide clients the information needed to confidently move forward with their projects.   
    

Aesthetics
Yes, you could do it yourself but while working with clients our most important goal is to surpass their expectations.  Heaven forbid we show them something they’ve seen in a magazine or in a friend’s home.  Their space should be a reflection of their tastes and needs but above all else singularly beautiful. 

Understanding of Process
Translation; save you money!  While we do labor over details and design, to us efficiency is king.  Knowing where to put our energies is key.  The process shouldn't be wasted on easy and straightforward tasks.  The results are stunning projects completed within the necessary time. 

In the coming months we'll discuss a variety of design topics but feel free to send any questions to info@michelleeverett.com