Tag Archives: interior design

Inspired to create by a very lovely client…

8 May

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.

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Inspired to create by…an antique set of silverware

23 Jan

I am constantly inspired by nearly everything that comes my way whether via the web or my daily surroundings.

The only disadvantage to this is that I only have so much time in a day to act on ideas that will flood my mind. I am constantly leaving myself little scribbled sketches with what I hope will be just enough information about my vision, which I can hopefully discern for processing at a later time.
Yet it doesn’t always work that way. I can tell you looking at such scribbles a year later, even when they have color lists that were a big part of the idea with the intention of triggering the scene back into my recollection…the ideas are often lost.

It is difficult sometimes to resurrect these little creative surges & downloads. It probably doesn’t help that these creative blasts like to come during the most inopportune moments…such of those of deep exhaustion as I am lying in bed helplessly falling asleep.

You may ask what my point is? My point is this…I’m a constant creative magnet taking in more data than I can process into actual tangible results. My list of what I hope to paint, design & creates grows longer everyday even though my time to do it seems more limited. This however does not mean that I am not creating at all…quite the contrary. It means that my focus has become less of the things I want to do & more on what my clients needs are at the moment.

I have created some amazing designs in the past little while…some of which are top secret. Those that are not, rarely get much time in the spotlight as I quickly move on to the next task. Quite frankly I am suited to this sort of variety. There is nothing monotonous about my design business. I am just terrible at taking a moment to write about it & share.

That being said…a cross between apology & justification for not blogging in a while….I am going to share a creation that has been a while in the making.

Many of you who are close to me know I have been dating Craig for a long time… about five years ago his mother gave him some of her older furniture & antiques when she got re-married & moved away for a time.
One of these things was a set of silverware.

Not being a pro in the antique business. I’m not sure how to find the years, dates & values of things. All I know about this silverware is that it looks really old. I think it is stunning though. It fulfills all my beliefs about what old fashioned romantic silverware should be like (it is my Libra mentality to romanticize nearly everything).

Silverware from the Hewitt Family
Unfortunately the picture I have of it is not very flattering. Something about this designed medallion really struck me & I found the design fascinating.

In 2009 I was volunteered to refurbish some props for the Mountain West Ballet, Nutcracker performance. When it came to decorating the large presents that some of the dancers come out of, I decided that the only way to make it look like wrapping paper was to stencil them. It was difficult finding large enough stencils…so I resorted to creating my own using the silverware medallion as my inspiration.
It turned out so well that I never forgot the thought I had, that this pattern might look nice as a fabric pattern….

Vintage Bird Nutcracker Gift Boxes Designed by April Elizabeth for Mountain West Ballet
Back when I was very young, I had this dream. It was a big dream that carried me through my youth & teenage years. That was the desire to be a fashion designer. It may have been my exposure to sewing. I had been sewing since I was five years old…maybe it was the piles of old pattern design books I would track down at all the libraries & spend hours reading. Yes. That has to be it. The library…

I was driven to design clothes. Much of my teenage years I was self educating myself in such things.

It was this time spent, reading, studying, sewing, making my own patterns & clothes (otherwise I was limited to hand me downs) that taught me a great deal about textiles. Years later when I ended up on the path to an Interior Design degree, this knowledge came in handy because I knew them inside & out.

Knowledge is one thing, but I also loved textiles & fabric. I read everything I could on repeats & fabric design but so much of it was vague…almost protected information. It was hard to find much information & the tools to print, silk screen & paint my own fabric would be difficult to justify as a hobby.

Since that time I have wanted to have my own fabric line. Truthfully, every time I see a designer with their own fabric line I will pour over their bio to try to find out how they got started. Each line says so much about the designer’s personality as well as design style & I find it fascinating.

Duralee happens to be my favorite fabric companies to look at such designers, because they really put a lot of emphasis on their talents & lines. To private label with a company like Duralee…that would be the dream.

In researching fabric designers, I know there are people who specifically design fabric & do the artwork to help fulfill many a designers’ vision. For me being an artist before getting my Interior Design degree I decided it was time to challenge myself.

I needed an easy subject to start with so I defaulted to one I already had a myriad of sketches for. The bird medallion inspired by Craig’s antique silverware. Knowing that I could change the colors to any that I wanted later on, I made the decision not to invest in new paint. I painted it with what I already had & considered each color as a separator to each other.

A E Design Original Scanned Design of Vintage Bird Medallion
Then I scanned it into my computer & began using Photoshop to clean it up. This was a long process since I had to work on it in bits & pieces as time allowed. Then I played around with various filters…

A E Design Playing with color for the Vintage Bird Design
Many color samples later & it was beginning to look really decent. Then the craziest thing happened….
After looking for months for the perfect fabric for one of my clients…one with all the colors she wanted to bring into her home, I heard myself throw out the idea that “maybe I could design it?”

Well, she wanted to see what I had right away. She loved the design. It was transitional leaning into a traditional vibe, so the process of getting each fabric right began. It took time & weeks every time I would order a new color sample but finally we got it right.

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Then because she was ready to rock & roll…I used my sewing skills (which I had put in cold storage for a few years) & made eight back tab panels of 132” drapes, fully lined with blackout lining.

A E Design Sewing my custom fabric into drapes
I am really happy with the result & what I learned from this experience is invaluable. I may not be designing exquisite textiles for a high end designer fabric company, but I can design fabric. In fact I am planning to design a few things with my antique bird design & see how they sell online.

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Red & Gray A E Design

Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Teal & Black A E Design The other thing I learned is that I need to have someone else do my sewing sometimes, just so I can keep myself moving forward & creating as well as get in some Z’s.

These particular color combinations were put together for my client. To see more of my colorways in this “Vintage Lovebird” pattern feel free to visit my spoonflower shop. Azure Elizabeth Design Vintage Bird Fabric in Redl & Gray

Inspired to create by a sweet-as-candy-heart-shaped necklace…

26 Feb

So is it just me or has 2013 been moving at the speed of light so far? Okay. It isn’t really moving that fast…some days feel like they are dragging, but when I look back & realize we are ending the second month of this New Year I am thinking where did all the time go?

Although I haven’t blogged here for a while I can assure you I haven’t taken a break from my creating…I have just been juggling a lot of balls & honestly it is naturally easier to just create…writing about it though…well that isn’t always as easy.

So to give you a bit of perspective on what has had me so distracted besides my design business & the business of being a single mother…I do have to insert here that one of the highlights of the month was my daughter getting her pointe shoes. A big distraction & a moment of motherly pride over took me for a moment there, so I had to mention it…it happens sometimes.

I am still writing for the examiner online as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner. I recently covered a whole lot of information on some of 2013’s color trends & forecasts which you can check out here.

Then a somewhat newish adventure  for me has been working part-time  at Jcp’s (JcPenny’s) in the home & drapery department….which admit I am totally enjoying. I love the store, my managers & the associates there. I think it is a great fit right now for this Interior Designer. If you need blinds, shutters, drapes, bedding & or towels you should check them out. Product is great & pricing is amazing. We also just added a whole bunch of new products & lines in these departments…with even more to come including  Happy Chic by one of my favorite designers Jonathan Adler.

Now one of the reasons I mention this is because I have to give Jcp credit for the inspiration for this recent “Inspired to create by…” project. Just before February Jcp brought in a line of lab created gems & jewelry for Valentines. There were so many gorgeous choices & even though I try so hard to avoid the jewelry department I couldn’t avoid its sirens call when I saw this pretty ruby & white sapphire gem in their ad campaign, plus I have a huge weakness for pavé gem settings.

Lab Created Ruby from Jcp 2013

Admittedly since I was young I’ve had an aversion for heart-shaped anything…especially jewelry…I also couldn’t stand it when little girls would dot their i’s with little hearts…I must have held some kind of negative belief about them for some reason…but that is between me & my therapist…No. I don’t really have a therapist unless you are talking about Dr. Organic Dark Chocolate…

In the last few years symbolism has become very intriguing to me & I am using it quite often in my design work, so maybe that is the reason that despite any of my usual reasoning  & avoidance of things attached to the word cute…I fell head over heels in love with hearts this past Valentines, as well as a newly heightened passion for lace glitter…all of those beautiful romantic symbols of love.

So from this jewel my little Valentines Moxie painting was born. I already had a prepared canvas with layers of red paint glitter, glass gems & acrylic resin. It was originally for something else that didn’t end up happening. When I realized looking into its depth was akin to looking into that tempting heart-shaped ruby in the jewelry case at Jcp, I suddenly knew that I wanted to accent this red canvas with shimmering, glimmering frosted white like that of white sapphires or sparkling snow.

Azure Elizabeth Design Valentines Moxie

Since flowers are often a part of Valentine’s Day I wanted them to be the theme of the piece. I used my stylized Moxie flowers that have adorned a few of my other paintings. I love curving, bold, extreme, yet feminine lines & a bit of whiplash curve every now & again. The moxie paintings reflect that bit of mania.

So here you go…my February creation inspired by a sweet as candy heart-shaped necklace that not only caught my eye but shot its little cupids arrow right into my heart & seduced me into buying it. Yes! I totally caved. Valentines gifts you get for yourself are really the best though. I highly recommend making this day every year a day of spoiling yourself & others instead of always relying on someone else to make it happen.

Inspired to create a little Valentines Moxie by a Lab created ruby by Jcp

Show a little love for yourself today & also have a lovely day!

PS. For more photos of this & other paintings please visit my Etsy shop AzureElizabethDesign

Xoxo’s

Inspired to create by…the perfect paisley, and the elements fire and water

19 Dec

For those of you who know me well you know that I juggle a lot of balls…though the truth is that because of my juggling act, very few people know me well enough to actually realize that. I confess…I am an extremely private person who only gives small glimpses out to others about my person which are usually based on content, subject matter and need. If there is no need then there is very little divulged leaving others to make assumptions about me, which they often do…I admit this can be quite interesting at times…

Can I get any more confusing? Yes! I guarantee I can.

Astrologically speaking I am dominantly Air and Fire with one sneaky little water sign planet, Scorpio…My Sun sign is in Libra. Yes, that is where my vanity comes from as well as my desire for romance and my love of beauty. On Twitter I refer to myself as A Lovely Designer…to understand why I use Azure as my alter ego go here…I use the word ‘lovely’ symbolically because if represents a combination of the two ideals, love and beauty that I equally value and try to create in life.

Love is emotional and beauty is visual, often stimulated by physical or environmental influences but at times they merge together into one. If I ever tell you to have a ‘lovely’ day I am wishing you actual love and beauty to be manifest in your life.  To me it is as positive an emotion as wishing you much happiness.

If  I tell you something or someone is “lovely” I am saying that to me it/they are of more value to me that just the superficial  appearance and that the worth and value runs much deeper with me.  This word is used in reference to people I value and love and the things they create. If I can see them or their heart in their creations there is nothing more lovely to me.

Now back to my astrological chart…I know you are just dying to know more…alright whatever! Indulge me please, I promise it will make sense shortly. I am more on topic than you think and this is an only round about apology for not posting more often.

So where were we….oh, yes…so my Moon is in Gemini, and this is where the importance for communication comes in. I am a communicator and nothing annoys me more than people thinking I can read their mind…I may be intuitive but I wont give you the pleasure of knowing what I read. It is not my responsibility, so If you don’t tell me something please don’t expect me to know about it. I am so not a busy body either…but we will get sidetracked if we go there…I also don’t take words, commitments and promises lightly so if you can’t walk your talk there will be probably little trust between us…unless it is something trivial that I don’t depend on to function.

I give the Air signs the credit for my being a bit of a free spirit…one who is attracted more to movement than being stagnant who moves quickly from one idea to the next. The free spirit comes in handy as an artist and designer and it allows me to be open-minded but it can mean I live very much in my head and will often put logic over my own heart and sometimes block myself from my emotions…something I am learning to recognize and be more careful about.

Now to top that all off I have two planets in Leo, one in Venus and one is Saturn. Darn it! I have not yet figured out how to allow my inner Leo’s out of their cage because Saturn is standing on my tail. Saturn, will always repress, suppress or oppress the planet it is in.

So how is this relevant to my Inspired to Create blog? Well, taking what I have learned about my own self from astrology, and seeing my strengths and where I am out of balance…I have used this understanding with the assistance of my Astrologist David Porter to design and create an environment for one of my clients. It is still a work in progress but until we addressed his astrological chart we just weren’t making any progress.

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My clients astrological chart is an almost split down the middle with only Earth and Air planets. This means that the emotion that is represented by the Water planets and the passion of the Fire planets was somewhat void in his life…which he admitted too. This process spoke to him and when I suggested that we bring in colors and patterns to symbolize his missing elements it resonated with him. Then I found the perfect paisley fabric to honor all of the elements with reds and oranges to represent the missing fire and blues and greens for his water. Earth is represented by earth tones and air by the color yellow.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design Side View

I love using symbolism in my designs when I can. It is like turning your environment into a vision board so to speak and what better way to reach your subconscious than that?

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design representing air earth and water

So here are a few glimpses of what we are using in the space as well as some custom art work I created for it. He was very patient with me since my gypsy like spirit means I can sometimes have a lot of irons in the fire.

Designed and Painted for Lehi Client by A E Design the whole collection

And here is the light that will be going over the kitchen table in a few weeks. I couldn’t help but give you a sneak peek.

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Inspired to create a ten foot mural by a mountain lake fishing trip…

7 Aug

Perhaps I am too ambitious. It is one thing to be in a constant creative mode, moving through life at an intense designing pace & quite another to sit down & write about it all…just so I can keep my audience on the edge of their seat…or at least remembering my name.

I recently finished a big project designing a wedding dress…which you can check it out here. It was awesome & I am very proud of how it turned out. Since then I have been on a roll & have sketched out a whole assortment  of designs for a wedding dress collection that I would love to introduce…someday maybe.

I am of course still writing for the online examiner as the Salt Lake City Interior Design Examiner & loving it! So if anything was to blame in my not keeping up with my blog, it would probably be….well, we just won’t be pointing fingers.

The fact is I am not super woman. If I was I would’ve flown by my own power to Vegas last Wednesday, when my flight to meet up with designing friend Brandon Smith at Vegas Market was delayed by four hours.

The truth is more often than not, after a long day of working I often can’t put more than two sentences together.  I am lucky if I am speaking coherently enough that my children hear, “it is time for bed” instead of that Charlie Brown adult gibberish.

I am really starting to think that is why they don’t respond…I must be speaking another language, either that or it is because I am the mother of two very ADHD teens. Life is never dull but it is one ride I do enjoy.

At this point I won’t promise to be more a more consistent writer. I refuse to subject myself to any kind of trivial guilt anymore. I am a “go with the flow” kind of gal who is more creative & productive the less negative pressure there is attached to things.

I am one designing woman who must put priorities first, which for me are my children & bringing home the bacon. After that the rest is just the frosting on the cake or pancakes & maple syrup on the plate…cake doesn’t really go with bacon.

With that being said I have a lot of things in the works & even nearing completion. Paintings, design work…I may even begin another wedding dress…you know, the usual. I do promise to keep you updated… at some point. I do!

In the meantime I am pulling from the archives (deep within my external hard drive) for this inspired to create post, which is based on a ten foot long mural I painted around 2005 for a little boy’s room in Draper Utah.

The family was a group of avid campers. They loved the outdoors & spending time together more than anything. They just said they wanted an outdoor scene for their oldest sons room so I pulled from my own stash of photos from a mountain lake fishing trip when my son was five years old.

It is a good thing I am addicted to taking ridiculous amounts of photos of my surroundings, because I had over ten views to use as my reference for the design.

East wall concept

I measured the room & did elevations to lay it out. The truth is this was my first mural. Art & painting I had done plenty off but mural work…not at all.

South wall concept

As with any design client, it was important to me that they knew what they were getting into before I even put paint to the walls. I believe concepts can help reduce anxiety about any designing or creative process. It puts your client at ease & helps them see that you know what you are doing by giving them a tangible piece of information about the project. Since people don’t read minds nor can they see what is in your head, I believe it is vital especially when someone is investing large amounts of money in something you have essentially dreamed up.

West wall concept

Here is the finished product. I don’t even remember how long it took me to complete (I’ve blocked it out) but it was a really busy time in my life so I was only able to squeeze in a few hours, a few days a week.

East Wall

I don’t typically paint murals & that is probably more my fault than anything. I have very strong opinions about murals which I’m sure has offended people at times but since this is my blog though I will not hold back…

East wall up close

In my opinion…there are very few places a mural is even appropriate.

I think restaurants & children’s spaces are the best places…if it actually adds to the design & doesn’t subtract. I have seen murals work in everything from historical homes, pediatric offices, hospitals & even arcades.

South wall mural

In my opinion…only ten…umm…maybe I will be more generous, twenty percent of murals I have seen, I like. I guess I have this snobby idea that they have to be classy & original. They shouldn’t look rushed, cheap or slapped on. The whole idea of faux painting a bookcases on your wall instead of just having one really baffles me. Although there are times adding an illusion through a mural works, but only in certain circumstances.

West Wall

Really the reason I don’t do more of them, is that people always want Disney characters on their child’s wall or Thomas the train. I myself hate having my copyrighted work stolen so I am not a fan of copying on that level. The other thing is that children grow very fast, so you date & condemn a room that may have been a juvenile haven at age three only to have it become a cartoon nightmare a few years later when the child is too embarrassed to bring their friends over or they don’t like that ‘subject’ anymore.

West wall up close

Being that I appreciate originality & longevity, if you were at ask me to paint Cinderella in your daughter’s room walls I would paint my own version of Cinderella, not Disney’s. One that she could head into her teenage years with. As for Thomas the train, wouldn’t you much rather have a classic old-fashioned Steam Locomotive or a sleek Modern high-speed rail train? Something that’s a  combination of fantasy with  a punch of realism  so you can grow up alongside it for a while?

Yep! That is what I thought.

Inspired to create by…Blue Abalone…

17 Jun

Now typically I am not one for feeling guilty about this sort of thing but the fact that I haven’t posted since Easter is really getting under my skin. This I promise you is not due to being in a slump or any kind of designing funk. Quite the opposite really…I have been busy as usual, but just my normal sort of busy.

What this means is that I have great inspired projects in the works that I cannot wait to share with you…they just aren’t ready yet. Here is a hint, there is some art on the easel, so to speak & even some clothing design in production….a ‘Wedding Dress’ actually. I wasn’t planning to give you that much info, but if you are reading this little blog of mine here, you deserve more than just my gratitude. Thank you for reading & please stay tuned for what is coming.

One thing I must also mention is my somewhat recent gig with the online Examiner. Yes, I am writing as the Salt Lake Interior Design Examiner (my official title) & I love it. I will admit as with anything that implementing this into my life has meant some juggling at times…but it is all worth it.

So in the meantime I am pulling out a little inspiration from the archives. This one has been on my mind of late as I am seeing all the home product catalogs highlighting summer by the sea themes.

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These renderings are from a college assignment. We were to design a Cape Cod beach house with very specific spatial requirements. It was probably the most time consuming plan I did in college but the most enjoyable.

ImageRather than use the typical beachy color schemes or even a nautical inspiration, I chose my palette from the beautiful subtle periwinkle or blue tones that can be found in Abalone shells. There is something sort of mysterious about the sea & the pearly undersides of textural seas shells & sea creature are a lovely representation of its hidden treasures to me.

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I love to mix what was then (2004) considered to be more unexpected textures together…it wouldn’t be so unusual now I am sure. My fabrics were combinations of luxurious silks for pillows & drapery, with nubby linens for the bed & upholstery, natural stone counter-tops & flooring in earth tones, while the soft floor coverings & window treatments were woven organic materials. I specified lighter woods, simple contemporary lines in the furniture rather than the more traditional items you might see in a home by the sea.

ImageHere are my concepts for the design, I had to recreate the boards somewhat…I  can see a few things I would go back & change in my renderings but experience always does that. I hope you enjoy!

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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