Tag Archives: elegant spaces

Inspired to create by a very lovely client…

8 May Dashner Turret Design lit up by the Chandy Design by April Elizabeth of AE Design

I have often wondered if I could break down my processes of creating to help those who say they aren’t creative be able to find their creative power. Maybe it is possible, but sometimes for me it is an elusive process. I rarely approach creating the same way every time. While Inspiration is a huge factor in creating, it is only one part of the process.

I can know in my head exactly what I want to create but if the timing isn’t right or I’m not in the right mindset it is often hard to put on paper & get it out of my head to a presentable medium. I recently had an amazing opportunity to create something bigger than I ever dreamed of creating. Believe me; I have a lot of big ideas & dreams when it comes to creating products designed by my own hands.

This though really pushed the limits of what I ever dreamed I could do. In fact, I probably never would have considered ever putting myself in this position if it weren’t for my very lovely client Lynette. Over a year ago Lynette hired me to help her & her husband create their dream home. I did not know at the time what a blessing this would be. There were many challenges along the way but I did my best to try to capture their vision & stay focused on making it a reality. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be able to do what I do best for these very deserving clients.

I did a lot of designing & collaborating with other talented folks throughout the process of designing the home. I created everything from custom fireplaces to elegant decorative finish work. I plan to write about some of those designs as well, but anyone who follows me knows my writing can end up on the back-burner somewhat.

If you follow me on instagram you may have already seen this project or the decorative library ceiling I painted. It isn’t typical for me to do work like this for my clients. Because of my background in art I am perfectly capable, but it is time consuming & stressful & as many artists know unless you are compensated for your time it isn’t always worth it. The turret ceiling took this to a whole other level by being so much more time & work than I anticipated. I knew though that I just had to plug through it & make it happen. I am lucky that I had the support I did, so I could get it done. I am so thankful for that.

I really started the process of designing it months before it came about. There was so much to do to move the house forward & there were many changes & additions. Every now & then she would say, “it would be nice to do something with that ceiling up in the turret.” I would agree with her, but we did not yet know what we were working with until the finish carpenter had completed his part of the installation.

I had grown to enjoy my client & her family so much. I was obsessed with making sure her home fit all her expectations. This is their dream home after all. She was a gem through every little problem that would come up in the building process. I also knew that when you start designing a high end home & putting high quality products into it, that nothing can ruin it more than having some element that is unfinished or non-related that somehow randomly sits in the midst of the design. I saw that the entry turret despite all its beautiful finish work was not going to look right without a little something more.

Design concept for Dashner Turret Design owned by April Elizabeth of A E DesignThere was so much to do but in the meantime on my downtime, I would try to sketch out options & ideas, at first I was hitting a designer’s block of sorts. I would continue to doodle knowing that even when I am not feeling it, sometimes I will have one little element that seems to lead somewhere.

I keep all my little sketch books for this reason. Sometimes I am doodling designs without a purpose but they are great & I am thinking how can I apply this to something? When I am struggling I go back thorough all the books & try to find elements that I can work with. It is rare that I sketch out a design perfect right off the bat. Sometimes It takes a lot of attempts to get things going in the right direction. This was probably one of the hardest designs to come up with. It took me a lot of time thinking & sketching it out.

I am extremely sensitive to my environment so sometimes my inability to create is because of surrounding distractions & then sometimes I am even fighting with little nagging subconscious fears that I won’t be capable of getting it right. I hold myself to very high expectations & when I am designing something I have never done before…it can be a small internal battle. I have learned a few tricks to deal with this though. I know the end result shocks everyone who has seen it including myself, but I wouldn’t want anyone to make the mistake of thinking it was a smooth process.

Up on the scaffold for AE Design Dashner Turret DesignGetting up on scaffolding when you are afraid of heights really makes you face your demons. I had experienced it a few months before when I painted the library ceiling. This was much higher & more difficult to reach. I am lucky I had a helper though. Still I have never experienced something that pushed me to the edge quite so much…the closest thing I have ever had to this feeling was when I was getting my interior design degree & pulling all nighters to get my presentations ready. I was a mom back then as well so I wore as many hats as I do now.

Moving Forward with the Dashner Turret Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignTruth be told I would do it again. Maybe I wouldn’t have so many demons to fight off now. I found that being up high in a precarious situation made me feel vulnerable & like I didn’t have much control. I would run into trouble when I would find out the walls weren’t even or the template that was made for me wasn’t accurate. Things would take longer than I wished, then at night I would have to go home to modify or re-cut my reverse templates.It was an all consuming project that took over 100 hours. After I hit that marker I stopped keeping track.

The reason I would do it again? I have figured out through trial & error what works best but most importantly, It was a labor of love. I put a lot of my heart into it. There is something so powerful about creating something beautiful that always drives me to push through any discomfort that comes up, just so the finished result can come to life.

Honestly it is a good representation of how life can be. Things don’t always go well or the way to you plan. Sometimes you are wondering how this will ever work out. There are bumps in the road but if you keep persevering & keep your eye focused on the end result you can make things beautiful.

Dashner Turret Design lit up by the Chandy Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignWhen I was up there I thought about their family & how many years of enjoyment they were looking forward to in their new home. I imagined their daughter someday standing on the stairs getting her pictures taken for prom or the boys walking up the stairs to their rooms after a long day of sports & activities. It is beautiful enough they could have a wedding in this home.

Even if they forget their designer down the road after all the work is done, I hope that somehow the love & respect I have for them will radiate from my work for years to come. I don’t know how it couldn’t. I left a little of my heart behind when I was painting.

Dashner Turret from below  Design by April Elizabeth of AE DesignMy daily goal is to fill the world around me with beauty & love…that to me is what it means to be lovely.

Inspired to Create by…Pratt & Lambert’s Chinese Orange

25 Feb

No matter how much I love color or how long I have worked with it, I find that much like my relationships with others there can be a bit of an ebb & flow as to how much they are in my life at the moment. You probably know what I mean. You have friends who move away, live in another city, run away, get married, take work transfers, or even the adventuring types who won’t stay tied down to anywhere for very long…you get the idea.

Then there are the friends who you haven’t talked to since high school or college, but  one day through a phone call or a visit & your relationship is strengthened & revived. Once someone is a true friend they always are, even when life just gets in the way at times.

Well I fall in & out of love with color almost the same. It isn’t that I ever stop loving colors really, I love all colors (just like I love all my friends) it just depends on how the colors are applied or in my life at the moment.

Sometimes certain colors are less in the forefront of my thoughts than others might be. I think much of this is due to the seasonal & yearly trends as well as my clients needs & the trends of the geographic area or the demographics I’m working with.So with that being said, it can be understandable that I am often excited about  old colors that have become new again. It is much like becoming re-acquainted with a  childhood friend. Right now the colors I am renewing a relationship  with are apricots, peach’s, tangerines & corals. Four colors I hadn’t seen much of until about a year ago when they started popping up in textiles & design work everywhere. These new/old colors went from being nostalgic reminders of my youth…to being all grown up with all newer versions of themselves, that are now being cleverly used in vibrant, rich, elegant spaces. So in a way I would say as well as being reunited with some old friends, I have also made some new ones. I’ve been so inspired by these warm tones that the end of last summer 2011, I begin playing with the idea of using them in a set of stylized paintings that I had sketched out as a concept, but hadn’t yet decided what color direction to take. I started looking to various inspirations. I love the tangerines & apricots blending into cool pinks tiptoeing into the territory of the color coral such as the photo of the table setting above that I spotted on Pinterest the other day. Coral itself can be more complicated. There are coral pinks & coral reds with many tones & shades in-between. These are vibrant, sensual colors. I love them all equally & in trying to decided what direction to take, I desired to find a color to base my work off of that bridged the gap between both the pink & the red.

That is when I found Chinese Orange from Pratt & Lambert paints. Deep enough to lean towards the red direction of coral, but pink enough to be sultry & hot. The photo above shows the original texture & color blending of my canvas before the design was added, along with some inspirational photos to reflect the colors I used.I love the contrast of cool colors against warm colors because these opposites enhance one  another. I wanted the design to stand out so that was how I decided on the abstracted floral’s textural color. This raised design is a combination of textural paint mediums including  mica flakes suspended in acrylic polymer. The surface of the canvas had to be smooth to apply the top layer of pattern, so I used transparent gel acrylic which gives it depth so you can look right through it & see the dimension.

The truth is this was all very experimental on my part. I had used these various mediums a few years before for some commissioned art work & knew that I was only scraping the surface of these products potential. I wanted to do more.

The idea here was to create art work that had some flexibility…I have my logo/initials embedded subtly in the acrylic resin in such a way that you can hang these four pieces in any combination you wish & not see it unless you were up close. This set is the only one of hundreds of thumbnails with similar concepts. At some point I plan to take my designs into my own textile line.

As an interior designer, I realized I could not just create the art without envisioning the space  or color story it would belong in. I decided to give Olioboard some of my time & see what kind of concepts I could come up with. This  mood board creator program has so many possibilities. These are all merely concepts, but hopefully they will help you envision some of the possibilities of  these new paintings ‘Coral Blooms.’

Blue, turquoise, tangerine & coral tones. This color story reminds me of a cottage by the sea. It can’t take itself too seriously when vibrant corals with hints of copper & orange (a touch of tangerine tango, Pantones 2012’s color of the year) are juxtaposed against a powdery blue & vivid turquoise.I love the dynamic contrast of  monochromatic neutrals such as whites, blacks & grays with a pop of color to spice things up. If you love bright colors, but the idea of painting them all over your walls, or using them in your furniture  terrifies you, then using a neutral based palette & implementing color into your decor & a few key accent furniture pieces is a lovely compromise. I truly believe every space has the potential for showcasing the colors you love most, even if it seems they may be too dominate & daring to work with. This is where utilizing the experience & expertise of a professional designer can come in handy.

This set of paintings was intentionally created toward a more feminine direction, which depending on how they are hung will emphasis that quality more or less. I rarely get to do rooms with a more  feminine appeal with my actual clients…unless you would  consider my eleven year old daughter a client which I do, but she may not. The trademark of a more feminine feeling space is often in its use of color, although there are many other design elements that can create that more feminine feeling, such as the lines of the furnishings & accessories…I think the mood board above illustrates what I am talking about.

I love mirrored furniture for its lightness, It can be fresh, light & glamorous but it can also be used to create dynamic & dramatic contrast in a space…that is a different mood board & blog post though though. Periwinkle & I have had a bit of a strained relationship I will admit. I mentioned it in my other blog a few months back. It isn’t that I dislike this color it just is so much better company in an environment where others can feel included…such as the vivacious Chinese Orange & the subtle but charming silver.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

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